Public Service Essay

Pages: 7 (1940 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Government

Public Service

The developments in society during the last decades, the increased role that the individual is taking in society, corroborated with additional factors such as the information revolution and the ease of communication meant that the relationship between the public sector and the individual suffered continuous changes and dynamic transformations. On one hand, the individual began to demand more and more from the public services and, on the other, these were forced to perform better, given the indirect control that the citizen has over them. The government and representative bodies are involved in this framework in terms of ensuring the intermediation and coordinating the activity of entities providing public service.

The framework creates a system of checks and balances that is the key element in this dynamic relationship between democracy, politics, representative bodies and the individual that ensures both the proper functionality of the public services and the fact that these are molded to best fit the needs of the citizen. The aim of this paper will be to analyze this framework and to argue that the system of checks and balances between the different components is, in fact, the key element of this structure.

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As a general perspective, the public services are those that the government offers to its citizens in order to cover a set of basic necessities for these citizens. From this category of public services, one can enumerate health services, educational services, but also electricity services, public transportation services or water services. The public services are generally distributed for free to the citizens, but there are hidden costs in this transaction: the public services are paid for from public funds, which are directly financed by the citizens' tax contributions.

Essay on Public Service Assignment

The evolution of the manner in which this is done is a clear example of the dynamism of the relationship between the representative bodies and the individual. Historically, at the beginning of civilization, the government, as a representative body (in those countries where it actually was a representative body, although this only began to be a generally accepted fact towards the 19th century), did not feel necessarily in its duty to offer a diversified array of public services.

Many of these "public services" were in fact organizations at a community level by concerned citizens aiming to solve some of the issues that appeared in their community. One good example in this sense was the way that they have organized in fire fighting squadrons long before this became a public service. This is an example that can continue with other types of services, such as health services: there was no national health policy, but rather specialized physicians in each village or town.

One of the probable reasons for this is related to the fact that the public services are generally related to the idea that these are the types of services that are associated with fundamental human rights. In other words, the respect for human rights forces a government to ensure that its citizens have access to some of the basic necessities, such as current water, but also that they are protected against some of the calamities, like fire. However, at the time mentioned in the previous paragraph (14th to 19th century), there was no global framework defining human rights or a perception that human rights needed to be defended.

This appeared only at the end of the 18th century, with the French Revolution that placed the individual and the citizen and the center of the societal framework. It was only them that the perception and idea of human rights became better known and, with that, the notion of public services. It was also then that the individual and the citizen began having more power and more leverage on the government, which now became representative bodies, and could impose a better checks and balances system over the public service entities. Democracy began to be felt as one of the fundamental elements impacting the offer of public services.

With the growing leverage that the citizens had over the representative bodies, more and more services were added to those considered 'public services' so that they began to include health or education services. In many of the countries, education, for example, is provided free by the state and it is often compulsory until a certain age. Depending on the governmental approach to this matter, health services are also often offered freely to the public.

In countries with a significant social protection, numerous other services are included as public services and, quite often, offered freely to the population. Examples of such countries are the northern states in Europe, like Denmark, Sweden and Norway. These services are not necessarily free: the level of taxation is significantly higher than in many other countries, often reaching levels of 65% - 70%. This offers the governments the necessary budget in order to provide such services to the population.

However, it is still a dynamic relationship between democracy, politics, representative bodies and the individual. The citizens of these countries empower the governments through their vote to act in such a manner and, in fact, completely agree with such an approach. A research in Sweden once had shown that a consistent percentage of the citizens who had been asked this question were agreeing with the high taxation levels. In their opinion, they were receiving a good value for their money: whenever they felt that they needed something, the public services would cover their necessities to an unprecedented degree.

Thus, the dynamic relationship also means that the citizens can customize their portfolio of public services. As mentioned, the instrument they use is leverage and the political parties, in fact, act during their electoral campaigns on platforms that are designed to notice the niches and segments where the public is dissatisfied.

If, for example, the citizen is dissatisfied with the way that the public services work, a political party will be able to campaign on a platform promoting their capacity to provide more public services or, in fact, to reduce the public services so that fewer taxes can be paid by the citizens. The dynamic relationship is centered on the needs of the citizens and on their capacity to change, improve or diversify the portfolio of public services.

Previously, the paper argued that the dynamism of the relationship between the different actors in the framework is also translated in the manner in which the public services are offered. In the beginning, as mentioned, there were no public services, because the government did not believe in its obligation to provide such services to its citizens. As things evolved and, as seen, the French Revolution meant a bigger role in society, especially in terms of being able to elect the representative bodies, the governments began to assume this role more seriously.

Nowadays, a new approach is noticeable in terms of public services and the way these are offered to the citizens. The representative bodies have begun to outsource some of these services to private companies. Why does that occur? Most likely, the explanation is an economic and commercial one: the governments believe that by outsourcing some of these public services, they would be able to obtain better quality at lower costs.

They are thus keen to provide better services to the citizens, but believe that specialized companies could do that better. One such example could be that of water and waste management. In France, Vivendi is the private company that provides such services and works not only with the French government, but also with several other countries in Europe.

In the beginning of the paper, the thesis was placed on the system of checks and balances that was formed out of dynamic relationship between democracy, politics, representative bodies and the individuals in a society. The checks and balances system is simple in this case, but it depends on the existence of a functional democracy in the respective country.

A functional democracy is comprised of several factors, but most importantly, a multiparty system (the existence of several political parties), free elections (the capacity of the citizens to freely exercise their electoral option) and the existence of a functional representative body. Basically, this means that the citizen is able to chose and also has from what to chose. At the same time, it also means that his choices have an effect in a representative body.

If all these conditions are reached and the citizen can express a free choice over a certain party, he or she will vote for that party that offers the best electoral option, which will be, in part, based on the quality and offer of public services, one of the most directly felt elements of an electoral platform. If the citizen is not satisfied with the quality of services that the current representative body offers him or her, the democratic system allows him to change that respective body with one formed of politicians who can do a better job.

This is what is meant by the system of checks… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Public Service" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Public Service.  (2009, August 6).  Retrieved October 1, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Public Service."  6 August 2009.  Web.  1 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Public Service."  August 6, 2009.  Accessed October 1, 2020.