A Government is the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises its authority, controls and administers public policy, and directs and controls the actions of its members or subjects.
Typically, the term "government" refers to a civil government or sovereign state which can be either local, national, or international. However, commercial, academic, religious, or other formal organizations are also governed by internal bodies. Such bodies may be called boards of directors, managers, or governors or they may be known as the administration (as in schools) or councils of elders (as in churches). The size of governments can vary by region or purpose.
Growth of an organization advances the complexity of its government, therefore small towns or small-to-medium privately-operated enterprises will have fewer officials than typically larger organizations such as multinational corporations which tend to have multiple interlocking, hierarchical layers of administration and governance. As complexity increases and the nature of governance becomes more complicated, so does the need for formal policies and procedures.
The development of agriculture resulted in ever increasing population densities. David Christian explains how this helped result in states with laws and governments:
As farming populations gathered in denser and larger communities, interactions between different groups increased and the social pressure rose until, in a striking parallel with star formation, new structures suddenly appeared, together with a new level of complexity. Like stars, cities and states reorganize and energize the smaller objects within their gravitational field.—David Christian, p. 245, Maps of Time
The exact moment and place that the erectional phenomenon of human government developed is lost in time; however, history does record the formations of very early governments. About 5,000 years ago, the first small city-states appeared. By the third to second millenniums BC, some of these had developed into larger governed areas: Sumer, Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization, and the Yellow River Civilization.
States formed as the results of a positive feedback loop where population growth results in increased information exchange which results in innovation which results in increased resources which results in further population growth. The role of cities in the feedback loop is important. Cities became the primary conduits for the dramatic increases in information exchange that allowed for large and densely packed populations to form, and because cities concentrated knowledge, they also ended up concentrating power. "Increasing population density in farming regions provided the demographic and physical raw materials used to construct the first cities and states, and increasing congestion provided much of the motivation for creating states."
According to supporters of government,the fundamental purpose of government is the maintenance of basic security and public order. The philosopher Thomas Hobbes figured that people were rational animals and thus saw submission to a government dominated by a sovereign as preferable to anarchy. According to Hobbes, people in a community create and submit to government for the purpose of establishing for themselves, safety and public order.
These are examples of some of the earliest known states:
The fundamental purpose of government is to maintain social order and protect property. “Security of person and property, and equal justice between individuals, are the first needs of society, and the primary ends of government: if these things can be left to any responsibility below the highest, there is nothing, except war and treaties, which requires a general government at all.” 
Militaries are created to deal with the highly complex task of confronting large numbers of enemies.
Once governments came onto the scene, they began to form and use armies for conflicts with neighboring states, and for conquest of new lands. Governments seek to maintain monopolies on the use of force, and to that end, they usually suppress the development of private armies within their borders.
Social security is related to economic security. Throughout most of human history, parents prepared for their old age by producing enough children to ensure that some of them would survive long enough to take care of the parents in their old age. In modern, relatively high-income societies, a mixed approach is taken where the government shares a substantial responsibility of taking care of the elderly.
This is not the case everywhere since there are still many countries where social security through having many children is the norm. Although social security is a relatively recent phenomenon, prevalent mostly in developed countries, it deserves mention because the existence of social security substantially changes reproductive behavior in a society, and it has an impact on reducing the cycle of poverty. By reducing the cycle of poverty, government creates a self-reinforcing cycle where people see the government as friend both because of the financial support they receive late in their lives, but also because of the overall reduction in national poverty due to the government's social security policies—which then adds to public support for social security.
Governments vary greatly, as do the relationships of citizens of a state to its government.
The leaders of governments are human beings, and given human nature, what constitutes good governance has been a subject written about since the earliest books known. In the western tradition Plato wrote extensively on the question, most notably in The Republic. He (in the voice of Socrates) asked if the purpose of government was to help ones friends and hurt ones enemies, for example. Aristotle, Plato's student picked up the subject in his treatise on Politics. Many centuries later, John Locke addressed the question of abuse of power by writing on the importance of checks and balances  to prevent or at least constrain abuse. It is believed that Thomas Jefferson was influenced by John Locke.
Social contract theorists, such as Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rosseau, believe that governments reduce people's freedom/rights in exchange for protecting them, and maintaining order. Many people question, however, whether this is an actual exchange (where people voluntarily give up their freedoms), or whether they are taken by threat of force by the ruling party.
Other statist theorists, like David Hume, reject social contract theory on the grounds that, in reality, consent is not involved in state-individual relationships and instead offer different definitions of legitimacy based on practicality and usefulness.
Anarchists, on the other hand, claim that legitimacy for an authority must be consensual and reject the concept of states altogether; For them, authority must be earned, not self-legitimated. For example, a police officer does not earn his authority as a doctor does, because the authority is voluntarily transferred to the doctor while the police officer just takes it.
In the most basic sense, people of one nation will see the government of another nation as the enemy when the two nations are at war. For example, the people of Carthage saw the Roman government as the enemy during the Punic wars.
In early human history, the outcome of war for the defeated was often enslavement. The enslaved people would not find it easy to see the conquering government as a friend.
People with religious views opposed to the official state religion will have a greater tendency to view that government as their enemy. A good example would be the condition of Roman Catholicism in England before the Catholic Emancipation. Protestants—who were politically dominant in England—used political, economic and social means to reduce the size and strength of Catholicism in England over the 16th to 18th centuries, and as a result, Catholics in England felt that their religion was being oppressed.
Whereas capitalists in a capitalist country may tend to see that nation's government positively, a class-conscious group of industrial workers—a proletariat—may see things very differently. If the proletariat wishes to take control of the nation's productive resources, and they are blocked in their endeavors by continuing adjustments in the law made by capitalists in the government, then the proletariat will come to see the government as their enemy—especially if the conflicts become violent.
The same situation can occur among peasants. The peasants in a country, e.g. Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great, may revolt against their landlords, only to find that their revolution is put down by government.
Anarchists and libertarian socialists are opposed to the state as a form of government, and to hierarchical social structures in general. Anarchists believe that explicit consent is necessary for legitimacy within a collective group or government. There are many forms of anarchist theories. Some anarchists, such as anarcho-syndicalists or anarcho-primitivists, advocate egalitarianism and non-hierarchical societies while others, such as anarcho-capitalists, advocate free markets, individual sovereignty and freedom.
Levels of civil government:
A government is a body that has the authority to make and the power to enforce laws within a civil, corporate, religious, academic, or other organization or group.
|This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.|
(There is currently no text in this page)
|This page or section does not have any sources. You can help Wikipedia by finding sources, and adding them. Tagged since August 2009|
The simplest idea of government is those who rule over people and land. This may be as small as a community with some sort of board that looks after the goings on of those who live within it or something a little larger like a village or as big as a continent (like Australia and India).
Those people who rule the land can allow others to own it. It is a deed by government that gives this right in the way that laws describe. Some think they have the right to hold land without government permission. This view is called libertarianism. Others think they can do so together as a group with others if they live in peace, without government. This view is called anarchism.
Almost every place on Earth is connected to one and only one government. Places without government are where people follow traditions instead of government rules, small border disputed areas and the continent of Antarctica, because almost no people live there. For every other place on Earth there is a government that claims sovereign control over it. The word "sovereign" is old and means "control by a King" (sovereign). Governments of villages, cities, counties and other communities are also subordinate to the government of the state or province where they exist, and then to that of the country.
It is from Kings and feudalism that modern governments and nation-states came. The capital of a country, for instance, is where the King kept his assets. From this we get the modern idea of capital in economics. A government is said to regulate trade as well as to rule over land.
Governments also control people and decide things about what morality to accept or punish. In very many countries, there are strict rules about sexual intercourse and drugs that are part of law and offenders are punished for disobeying them.
There are many theories of how to organize government better. These are called theories of civics. Because government is run by people who can be greedy, many people think leaders must be elected by some kind of democracy. That way, if government does not act nice, they can be replaced in the next election. Still many countries' governments are not a democracy but other forms in which only a few people have power.
There are many theories of how to run a government better, and keep people from hurting each other. These theories are part of politics. No matter how a government is chosen, it must do politics to keep power.
|Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found|