public A company goes public when it decides to sell its shares on the stock market. In the financial world, going public is an economic rite of passage, a kind of corporate coming out party, when a fiscal body is exposed to the judgments of the world.
A public, unlike a market, does not simply buy goods for its own use, but is involved in some discussion of the Good more generally. The Good might be ethical or political, but it can also be about style, as long as it involves a common good, engaging and connecting a group of people around a shared concern. Contemporary philosopher Jürgen Habermas calls this common conversation the public sphere. The public sphere (unlike the state and the economy, though it borders on both) is the forum where opinions are formed about what matters to a particular group of people, be it musical or mystical, ecological or culinary, athletic or aesthetic.1