Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels
Chapter 2: The Nature of Services
Sven Illeris Introduction The questions to be discussed in this chapter concern the basic characteristics of services. First, is it useful to consider services as one of the main categories of all economic activities and products, a class on the highest level of classiﬁcation? Here, it should be noted that the word ‘services’ has several meanings. Two are relevant in this book; however, this double use of the word has rarely caused confusion: ● ● services are a group of activities: trading, playing, driving and so on; and services are also the products or results of these activities: sales, concerts, journeys and so on. Second, how can services be deﬁned? In scientiﬁc work, precise deﬁnitions of the concepts used should of course be aimed at. However, it is not easy to arrive at a satisfactory deﬁnition of services, and the search for it has consumed much time. Third, a broader discussion is engaged on the main characteristics of services as well as the implications of these characteristics for the ways in which services function in societies and the ways we can study them. In this connection, the borderline cases between services and other activities and products are scrutinised. One implication is the object of a special discussion, namely the question whether services create wealth. This question has played an important role in the history of economics, and an attempt is made to state how far it has been answered today. Fourth, since services arguably constitute the most...
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