“The government plays a significant role in providing goods such as national defence, infrastructure, education, security, and fire and environmental protection almost everywhere. These goods are often referred to as ‘public goods’. Public goods are of philosophical interest because their provision is, to varying degrees, essential to the smooth functioning of society – economically, politically, and culturally – and because of their close connection to problems concerning the regulation of externalities and the free-rider problem. Without infrastructure and their protection goods cannot be exchanged, votes cannot be cast, and it would be harder to enjoy the fruits of cultural production …” (more)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published Wed Jul 21, 2021.