a public works program

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Could "a public works program" be written as "a public work program" with the same meaning intact? Why or why not?

Lest these proposals sound “pie in the sky,” they do not have to be. In fact, we call for a mobilization of such mindfulness practices and dialogue groups on the scale of a public works program for human civility. We see the situation as that urgent, and if military spending and corporate welfare are a current priority for some countries, then assuredly an engagement such as human civility and the discovery of new forms of peaceful coexistence could and should be an equal priority.

Source: Scientific American Today's Biggest Threat: The Polarized Mind
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's always called public works - always. It's a title, of sorts. It's like asking why it's not called the Department of Defenses. It just isn't.

    For a more practical reason, any program will include a number of projects and goals - those are the works.

    Works means projects. It doesn't mean labor or employment. It's not the same "work" as in "I work all day."

    A dam or a sewage system might be a public works project.
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