Public capital is any productive man-made asset owned by a government. This specifically excludes natural capital such as a lake and private capital owned by firms and individuals. Public capital is typically used as hard and soft social infrastructure that improves productivity, efficiency and quality of life on a national basis. The following are common types of public capital with examples of each.
Transportation InfrastructureInfrastructure for moving people and goods.
HealthcareIt is very common for developed countries to provide universal public healthcare for free such that governments commonly own most of their healthcare system.
Long-Term Care Facility
EducationInstitutions that provide education, often for free or low cost.
JusticeThe criminal justice system.
Safety InfrastructureHard and soft infrastructure that improves public safety.
Public SpacePublic space is mostly natural capital such as land but includes services and land improvements that are public capital.
UtilitiesUtilities are basic services that are critical to quality of life. These are often owned by a government or heavily regulated to prevent monopolies from undermining the competitiveness and quality of life of a nation.
Arts & CultureArts and culture programs and facilities.
Artifacts of Heritage
Sports & RecreationPlaces for international, national or community sports and recreation.
ResearchResearch and development facilities and programs.
OtherAny capital used by a government to provide its services is public capital. For example:
Waste Management Facilities
NotesCommunist systems own all capital such that all products and services are produced by the government with a system known as central planning. This is known to produce shortages, surpluses, waste and low quality products and services such that quality of life becomes terribly low. As such, there is a balance to be struck between public and private ownership of capital.
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