Discuss whether national defence or a public park is the better example of a public good. [12]

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1. Discuss whether national defense or a public park is the better example of a public good. [12]

The term public good refers to any good which is non-rejectable, non-excludable, non-rival and has no marginal cost. Non-rejectable means that one cannot refuse using said good. Non-excludable means that the consumption of the good cannot be stifled or limited, meaning that one cannot stop somebody which to consume the good from consuming it. Non-rivalry, refers to the property of public goods that denotes they way in which the consumption of any one person of that good does not in any way affect the ability to consume the same good of anyone else.

A public park can be considered quite a good example of such a good. It is almost entirely non-rival as one person using the park in no way stops anybody else from using the same park nor does it prevent anyone from using the park in the future, as one person using the park in no way degrades its ability to be used by future consumers. The park is also non-excludable, as, being a public park, nobody can exclude any person from using the park. In terms of marginal cost the park also has virtually no marginal cost as the costs associated with operating a park are almost always fixed; costs such as lighting or water supplies are almost always fixed and do not vary with consumption.
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However, there are certain aspects of parks that fail to make it a true public good. On the one hand, there is the fact that the park is rejectable, as one can choose whether they wish to take advantage of it, thus the park fails to fulfill at least one of the criteria to be considered a public good. On the other hand, parks are also not perfectly non-rival. While a small increase in consumption will not affect the next person’s ability to take advantage of it, a very large increase in consumption can lead to the park ...

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