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what is the purpose of government
1a. The Purposes of Government
Why do governments exist? One major reason is that they create rules. But what rules are necessary or desirable? That is open to question, and different types of governments have certainly created a wide variety of rules.
That is open to question, and different types of governments have certainly created a wide variety of rules.
Governments almost certainly originated with the need to protect people from conflicts and to provide law and order.
Why have conflicts among people happened throughout history?
Perhaps human nature dictates selfishness, and people inevitably will come to blows over who gets what property or privilege.
Or maybe, as Karl Marx explains, it is because the very idea of “property” makes people selfish and greedy.
Whatever the reasons, governments first evolved as people discovered that protection was easier if they stayed together in groups and if they all agreed that one.
(or some) in the group should have more power than others.
This recognition is the basis of sovereignty, or the right of a group (later a country) to be free of outside interference.
A country, then, needs to not only protect its citizens from one another
but it needs to organize to prevent outside attack. Sometimes they have built Great Walls and guarded them carefully from invaders.
Other times they have led their followers to safe areas protected by high mountains, wide rivers, or vast deserts.
Historically, they have raised armies, and the most successful ones have trained and armed special groups to defend the rest.
Indeed in the twentieth century, governments have formed alliances and fought great world wars in the name of protection and order.
The Real Purpose of Government
At its heart, it’s about saving capitalism from itself
Government in a democracy is essentially a conservative institution.
It is responsible for creating and sustaining markets, enforcing contracts, protecting private property,
and producing systems of education and infrastructure that allow commerce to function efficiently.
The current conventional wisdom that liberals
are pro-government and conservatives are anti- is frequently traced to President Ronald Reagan’s often-invoked notion that government is the problem,
not the solution. But when you read Reagan’s first inaugural address, delivered in 1981 in the middle of a crushing recession,
what he actually said was this: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
This was not a blanket condemnation of government, but a reaction to a specific situation in which the federal government seemed particularly ineffective.
Reagan went on to say that “it’s not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work.”
Near the end of his speech
Reagan invoked the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had his own clear and, I think, conservative ideas of government.
He wrote that government should do the things that individuals could not do for themselves,
including “maintaining roads, bridges and the like” and dealing with “noncompliance with contracts.”
Lincoln’s lawyer-like invocation of the evils of contract noncompliance hints
at a theme that Governing columnist Alex Marshall has made explicit in his most recent book. In The Surprising Design of Market Economies.
Marshall demonstrates that free markets are created by, and cannot exist without, governments. Governments,
he writes, create the legal framework trading requires, provide police and courts to enforce laws.
and contracts, and build the “commons” — roads, bridges, ports and other facilities necessary for commerce.
The relationship of government to markets is an ongoing one that requires continual intervention from government
to maintain order and stability. This is because markets are inherently disruptive. The term “creative destruction,”
used by Joseph Schumpeter in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy,
describes “the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within.
incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one
Schumpeter thought that the creative-destructive processes inherent in capitalism would eventually lead to its destruction.
The fact that this has not occurred
— or at least not yet — is the result of government’s continuing ability to intervene, moderating the disruptive impacts of the ever-changing market economy.
The Purpose of Government
Securing fundamental individual rights, as well as the rights of the people as a whole to govern themselves through consent is the principal object of the republic envisioned by the Founders like James Madison
, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, and George Mason. We find in Federalist No.
10 (1787), however, another characterization of what Madison calls the “first object”
of government that is worthy of more consideration than it generally receives.
Capturing his vision of a defensible democratic republic
perhaps better than a mere reference to securing fundamental rights, Madison invited the American people in the late 1780s to embrace a governmental arrangement.
that would protect them in the exercise of their “diverse faculties.” Madison provided more detail on this concept in his 1792 essay “On Property”:
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state.
In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy. Each government has a kind of constitution, a statement of its governing principles and philosophy.
Definitions and etymology
A government is the system to govern a state or community.
The word government derives, ultimately, from the Greek verb κυβερνάω [kubernáo] (meaning to steer with gubernaculum (rudder), the metaphorical sense being attested in Plato’s Ship of State).
- RESOURCE: WIKIPEDIA