For an economist that’s something of a failing too:
While economists usually talk about things that are not done at all (or done inadequately) by the private sector as “public goods”, investments in “big” public goods like the UK national health service,
This is the wrong damn way around. The private sector does not produce invisible pink unicorns. This does not mean that invisible pink unicorns are public goods. Public goods are, rather, things that the private sector will not produce well or not in large enough quantity as a result of their non-rivalry and non-excludability.
And the NHS is not a public good. It is clearly rivalrous, for a treatment given to one person means that that same treatment cannot be given, with the same resources, to another. It is also excludeable as NICE proves every time it denies a treatment that costs over £30k per qualy.
Vaccines are also not a public good: although the effect of a decent vaccination is. For herd immunity is non-rivalrous and non-excludeable.
It’s vital for economists to get this right. And Ms. Mazzucato isn’t.
Public goods are goods whose benefits are spread so widely that it is hard for business to profit from them (or stop others profiting from them). So they don’t attract private investment. Examples include transport infrastructure, healthcare, research and education.
Transport infrastructure cannot be privately built? Health care? Education? What bollocks is this?
The state’s provision of many of these goods – notably transport, education, housing and healthcare
Housing is a fucking public good now? Crippled JC on a pogo stick this is nonsense.
When public goods are privatised they lose their “public good” nature: it does become possible to profit from distributing mail, running trains, renting out homes and providing education.
You fucking what? If it’s possible to profit from them then they’re not public goods in the first place! For they cannot be profitable if they are non-rivalrous and non-excludeable. That’s the basic problem in the first place.
We’re continually promised that, due to efficiency gains and innovations prompted by the profit motive, public goods can be delivered more cheaply and effectively by the private sector.
Dear God, and this is a supposed economist talking here. What the hell has she been smoking?
Ms. Mazzucato should be locked into a room and forced to write lines. Perhaps 1,000 just so that the idea will sink in.
Public goods are not things that are good for the public, are not things the public desires nor even are they good things the public consumes. Public goods are those goods that are non-rivalrous and non-excludeable.