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Human beings have a fundamental right to education, health, emergency services, safety, and justice. Individuals should have access to what is needed to be successful in these areas of life, regardless of income. In a free-market economy, this is where the government’s role comes in. Through public services, the government aims to implement programs that address these fundamental rights, making sure everyone has access. Unlike the private sector, public services goals are not profit-oriented, but rather are focused on improving the overall quality of life for the populations they serve.

The most basic explanation of public services is that they are programs put in place by the government to make sure its constituents have a minimum standard of life by making sure their fundamental rights are fulfilled. 

Public services have come under scrutiny in the age of neoliberalism. As people begin to view any form of government intervention as an infringement on their individual freedoms, there is a direct conflict with the government programs intended to fulfill the fundamental rights such as education and health; that by offering these services they are infringing on the rights of individuals to get the type of health care or education that they want as opposed to what the government is paying for. Additionally, public services have long been scrutinized for wasting funding, being expensive, and being so regulated it hinders the functioning of the business hindering the ability to actually provide services. All of this scrutiny has led to the privatization of many public services.