Government-Funded Non-Profit Organisations

Government-funded non-profit organisations can give consumers a choice in public service delivery, to supplement or replace a State service.

Another term for non-profit organisations is ‘civil society’.  Mary Kaldor gives five different meanings for it in her book Global Civil Society, (chapter 1).  The meaning and context have changed for historical reasons, but in all cases refer to groups of people other than the government and its institutions.  As used here, the term refers to any non-profit organisation, including charities.

It is possible for government-funded non-profit organisations to offer alternatives for some State-provided services, allowing consumer choice and avoiding the need for bureaucratic central management.  In the care sector, for example, it is possible to provide a wide variety of service offerings by using a mix of public funding and private charitable donations.  Civil society tends to have employees with a desire to serve the public rather than a profit motive.  Churches, for example, can call upon volunteers to provide some services.

An individualist argument against using civil society, as compared to commercial services, could be that the absence of the profit motive might reduce the capital available for innovation and for improving service quality.



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/edition04/3532.htm.