Loosening of ties

This image of the G7 leaders in tieless attire is making the rounds on Twitter. There’s an observance that times are changing and the buttoned up look against the backdrop of some symbol of the halls of power is slipping away. Now the leaders are casual in their suits, almost sloppy if you look too closely at Boris Johnson. Perhaps old formalities are dropping to the wayside.

It used to be that public goods described activity in the public sector. Only economic activity administered by governments, such as the ones represented, were thought to fall inthis category. About ten or fifteen years ago people spoke up and noted that NGO’s also provided services when governments were failing. Instead of the funding coming from taxation, the money flowed from philanthropy.

The definition of a public good has expanded some more. Here is a peice from one version written by Tyler Cowen on Econlib, after the core concept has been flushed out.

Partially public goods also can be tied to purchases of private goods, thereby making the entire package more like a private good. Shopping malls, for instance, provide shoppers with a variety of services that are traditionally considered public goods: lighting, protection services, benches, and restrooms are examples. Charging directly for each of these services would be impractical. Therefore, the shopping mall finances the services through receipts from the sale of private goods in the mall. The public and private goods are “tied” together.

Here is the insight that private endeavors also envolve the provision of community goods.

If you’ve spent time on this site then you know that we feel that any good can be made public or private to a group. What is public to those inside the group is most likely private to those outside. All the households appliances are free to use by anyone from within the home but are considered private to those looking at the house from the street. The lines which encircle groups are many, some formal, some informal. But in order to calculate wealth held within communities, or their capacity to provide goods, for instances, it must be understood that all goods can be club goods.