It is called in economics goods and services the set of human processes and efforts whose ultimate goal is to satisfy the needs of an individual, a community or the entire species.
They are usually handled as a joint category in macroeconomic or social planning terms, but they represent two different segments although not disconnected from human activities in societies.
What are goods?
Goods are usually understood, in this sense, as concrete objects, tangible or not (as in the case of culture or identity, which cannot be touched), and which can be consume from society, that is, they can be bought, obtained, negotiated, received, etc. When we talk about merchandise goods, however, we are referring to physical objects that can be purchased or negotiable.
Assets can be of various types:
- Furniture. Goods that can be moved from one place to another without damaging them, such as a portable object or any household appliance.
- Estate. Goods that cannot be moved from place to place without deteriorating or changing their nature, such as buildings.
- Tangible. Those objects that we can grab, touch, deliver to another in their hands, like a cup of coffee.
- Intangibles. Those objects whose virtuality or cultural character makes them impossible to hold, such as national values or as a software program.
What are services?
On the other hand, services are the set of actions carried out by another person (or machinery, as the case may be) at the request of a specific consumer who is satisfied with them.
When speaking of pure services, thus, an abstraction is made to only consider what a man is capable of doing at the request of another to satisfy his need.
The professional or technical services that we may contract are examples of services.
Differences between goods and services
Although they are not the same thing, it is difficult for a service not to involve some type of goods, or for a single good to be consumed, devoid of added services.
Thus, when we buy a TV set, we can think that we only consume a good, but in reality we also make use of the services of a seller, a merchandise distributor, eventual technical support, etc.
However, goods are usually considered structural, that is, they can be renegotiated, inherited or transferred, while services occur in a given period and instant, since they run out over time. Goods can be returned: a service, on the other hand, cannot.
examples of goods
- Apartments, offices and houses. The so-called real estate, since they cannot be moved, are a perfect example of consumable (purchasable), inheritable, returnable and structural goods.
- Computers, cell phones, video games. Some of the most widely produced and consumed goods in contemporary times are those linked to the technological revolution at the end of the 20th century. The Internet, telecommunications and the virtual world imply a huge sale of electronic devices.
- Books, magazines, newspapers. The paper culture also has its consumer goods, although some are perishable (newspapers), others newspapers (magazines) and others durable (books). These objects are the result of a publishing industry that produces, distributes and markets them.
- Chairs, furniture, desks. Carpentry and the work of materials to elaborate surfaces is an example of movable (movable) goods that can be consumed at will and that are, by the way, indispensable to provide certain services.
- Cigarettes, coffee and alcohol. These stimulant products and legal drugs form another huge cog in today’s rapidly and massively consumed personal property.
- The software and applications. One of the great sources of goods in the contemporary and digital world are computer programs and applications for smartphones, such as video games. Many of these intangible assets, however, really imply a series of services without which, surely, they would not have any joke.
- shoes, gloves and hats. Second-hand accessories, made from leather and even oil derivatives, are highly demanded exchange goods in countries with stationary climates.
- Clothing and textiles. Clothing and apparel, hand in hand with fashion and advertising power, is one of the inexhaustible offers of consumable personal property, which handles a truly gigantic volume of national and international merchandise.
- Automobiles and motorcycles. The transportation industry encompasses automobiles of all kinds, motorcycles, alternative vehicles, and a whole range of mechanical goods dependent on the fuel industry and enabling transportation services.
- Jewelry and precious goods. These goods are characterized by not having a value based on their utility, but on their beauty or their exchange value, a bit like capital (which is not traditionally considered a good, although it acts as one).
Examples of services
- food services. From ethnic and traditional restaurants, to chains of fast food or mobile food stalls, these locations offer a food cooking service that ends as soon as customers do the same with their dishes.
- Population transportation services. Taxi lines, collective buses or even traction transport in rural towns, this sector represents an essential service for life in society, since they allow the rapid movement of workers.
- domestic cleaning services. It refers to the janitors (goals) of the buildings, as well as to the formal or informal sector of domestic cleaning.
- Telecommunications services. One of the great booming sectors, from the technological and communications explosion, is that of cell phones and the Internet, necessary in homes and work spaces alike.
- Interpretation and translation services. Of special significance for the diplomatic and corporate world, hand in hand with the national laws and regulations of legalization, apostille, etc.
- editorial services. This is the name given to the entire sector in charge of promoting, producing, correcting and printing (and sometimes distributing) both literary and periodical reading materials (newspapers, books, magazines).
- repair services. We could include here the technical services of electricity, plumbing, mechanics and electronics, which attend to particular cases and allow various (increasingly numerous and necessary) devices to be refurbished or started up.
- Educational services. Both the formal, academic ones, promoted by the State or private, as well as the informal ones in the case of workshops, courses and seminars. These are professional training services and the dissemination of information and culture.
- Medical services. In their gigantic range of specialties, doctors provide a prevention and emergency service for the deterioration of the body that ends as soon as health is restored or the check-up ends.
- distribution services. One of the world’s great sectors, merchandise transport and distribution, whether on a large (international) or local scale, is responsible for guaranteeing the mobility and flow of goods produced by the manufacturing and primary sectors.