3.2.3 The Economic Role of Government Spend
The economic role of government spend is to meet people’s needs and support economic growth; it is tax-funded, so it is contentious
A government’s primary objective in spending money should be to serve the people. The cost of maintaining law and order is directly related to its legal powers, as described in chapter 5; defence spending is also discussed later (184.108.40.206); but a government can also choose to make other benefits, services and facilities available. All these categories of spend compete for a share of national wealth, which the government funds through taxation – as described in the next section (3.2.4).
Levels of spending are decided by politicians, as described later (6.7.1), but the following sub-sections examine the economic role of government spend:
● Apart from defence and law and order, a government can choose to fund some other public services for people’s benefit (220.127.116.11). These can include health and education, for example, which it can fund in a variety of ways.
● It can make investments in infrastructure and in research, to help all sectors of the economy to function better (18.104.22.168).
● It can make benefit payments to people, to protect them from economic hardship (22.214.171.124).
● Some government spend can be seen as displacing private enterprise and reducing its competitiveness (126.96.36.199).
● The scope of government spend is contentious, as compared to letting people making their own choices about how to spend their money (188.8.131.52).
This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books. An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/323.htm