The Basic Functions of Government
Government is the set of rules and responsibilities that a nation agrees to follow in order to ensure their safety and happiness. It defines the parameters for everyday behavior for citizens, protects them from outside interference, and often provides for their welfare in various ways including providing food, housing, medical insurance, and job opportunities. It also creates laws that protect people from exploitation, provide for their educational needs, and promote peace.
In ancient times, different civilizations created many different types of governments. They ranged from a few individuals to large groups of people and from autocracy to democracy. Today, there are two main types of modern political systems: democracies and totalitarian regimes. However, these are not mutually exclusive and many countries have a mix of the two.
Modern governments are typically divided into three branches, namely legislative, executive, and judicial. These are called the “three pillars of government.” The distribution of power between these branches varies widely, as does the number of these institutions. There are many different philosophies regarding the best way to organize these systems and there are a wide variety of possible forms of government, including monarchy, oligarchy, democracy (direct or representative), communism, socialism, etc.
A major function of any government is the collection and enforcement of taxes to support public services and programs. This includes schools, hospitals, highways, police forces, military, and other essential public services. Governments can collect taxes in a variety of ways, including sales tax, income tax, property tax, and excise tax.
One of the most important jobs of government is protecting common goods that all people can use but that are in limited supply, such as fish in the sea and clean water. It is also responsible for protecting private goods that only some can own, such as land and houses. It must protect these goods so that a few people don’t take them all and leave others with nothing.
Another important job of government is to give citizens a voice in the decisions that affect them. For example, most Western democracies allow citizens to vote for their elected officials. In addition, most of these governments protect citizens’ freedom of speech and the press. They also usually offer their citizens a way to communicate with the government through official channels, such as letters or telephone calls.