Public finance and Private finance
Public finance deals with study of income, expenditure, borrowing and financial administration of the government. Private finance is the study of income, expenditure, borrowing and financial administration of individual or private companies. Both public and private finance are fundamentally similar in nature but different from each other on various operational aspects. The similarities and dissimilarities between public and private finance have been explained below.
Both public finance and private finance are based on rationality. Maximization of welfare and least cost factor combination underlie both.
Both have to apply restraint with regard to borrowing. The Government also cannot live beyond its means. There is a limit to deficit financing by the state also.
Both the private and public sectors have limited resources at their disposal. So both attempt to make optimum use of resources.
The effectiveness of measures of the Government as well as private depends on the administrative machinery. If the administrative machinery is inefficient and corrupt it will result in wastages and losses.
The government adjusts the income to the expenditure while individuals adjust their expenditure to the income. Private finance involves stitching coat according to cloth available whereas public finance decides the cloth according to the need for the coat.
The government can borrow from internal and external sources; it can borrow from the people by issuing bonds. However, an individual cannot borrow from himself.
The government can print currency. This involves the creation, distribution and monitoring of currency. The private sector cannot create currency.
4. Present vs. future decisions
The public finance is more involved with future planning and making long-term decisions. These investments could include building of schools, hospitals and infrastructure. The private finance makes financial decisions on projects with a short term vision.
The public sector’s main objective is to provide social benefit in the economy. The private sector aims to maximize personal benefit i.e. Profit.
The sources of income of a private individual is relatively limited while those of the Government is wide. The Government can use its power and authority.
The public finance has the ability to make big decisions on income. For example, it can effectively and deliberately adjust the revenue. But individuals cannot make such massive decisions.