What Is Government?


Government is the set of policies and rules that a state, country or community uses to organize itself in order to have stability and provide goods and services for people. Government is also a system that makes laws and ensures that everyone is treated fairly by those laws. People form governments by electing representatives to run them and make laws. Examples of government are a city council, state legislature and Congress. Governments also raise money by imposing taxes on things like income, property and sales. They use the revenue to pay for police, fire and school systems as well as other services that benefit the whole community.

Governments protect their citizens from domestic and foreign threats. To do this they have to maintain armed forces and carry out intelligence activities. They also control immigration and try to prevent the import of materials that could aid potential enemies. Governments may also be required to intervene in foreign countries when they have been invaded.

Many government officials work to help the poorest in society. They may establish welfare programs to assist the unemployed or provide food, shelter and health care for those in need. Governments also regulate businesses and enforce consumer-protection and worker-safety laws. However, many business owners complain that government regulations increase their operating costs and create a bottleneck for new products that could improve quality of life.

Most countries and States have different types of governments but they generally share certain characteristics. These include a constitution or charter that defines the scope of government and the manner in which it is structured. Most also allow their citizens to vote for the leaders of their choice. People who share similar ideas and philosophy often come together to form political parties.

While there are benefits to forming political parties, it is also a source of competition. Rival parties can challenge the legitimacy of one another’s ideas and influence what the government does.

Besides providing essential services for their citizens, most governments strive to accomplish collective goals. These include economic prosperity for their nations, secure national borders and the safety and well-being of their citizens. Governments also try to achieve peace and international cooperation. Governments do not always succeed at all of their goals and there is always room for improvement. But they are a necessary part of human society. Without them, the world would be a much more chaotic place. People need a stable environment in which they can live and to have access to the necessities of life such as food, clothing, education and healthcare. Without a functioning government, these needs cannot be met.