Introduction Taking services to market
DOI link for Introduction Taking services to market
Introduction Taking services to market book
The form and content of services has varied over time, aided by technology and innovation, but their essence remains unchanged. Services are the glue that binds our multiplicity of daily activities into a social existence. They provide formal and informal employment for over a billion people, livelihoods for many small business owners and dividends for shareholders of larger enterprises. Services infrastructure links us together through transport and communications networks, while water supply, health care and electricity provide the necessities of life. The relationships between those who provide services – teachers, shopkeepers, midwives – and those who use them are often highly personal and spill over into our families and communities. Through cultural and knowledge-based services we engage in dynamic exchanges that stimulate our creativity, innovation and sense of identity, and strengthen the foundations for informed political participation. The quality, affordability and accessibility of services therefore hold the key to social wellbeing, cohesion and stability – and often the sustainability of life itself. Decisions about which services are provided to whom and how they are regulated are at the heart of national and local politics.