What Is Government?


Government is the system through which an organized group of people exercises power and authority over a particular region or society. Governments can exist at many levels: local, city, state, national and global. People elect representatives to govern them at each level and pass laws that dictate how things are run. They also tax and draft budgets to determine how funds raised will be used for services. Governments are not required to provide everything in society, but they often provide goods and services that the private market cannot afford or can’t provide at a high enough quality or low enough price.

The most obvious service that governments provide is protection of the population and property. Governments also help manage public access to natural resources such as fishing rights, clean water and wildlife. They protect these resources from over-use, so that a few people do not take everything and leave others with nothing. Governments also provide education, police and fire protection, health care and postal service.

A government’s effectiveness in delivering on these functions is influenced by how well it is structured and governed. The framers of the United States Constitution debated the best way to organize a democratic government, and they ultimately settled on a model of separation of powers among legislative, executive and judicial branches. This allows the three parts of government to cooperate effectively but also limit each other’s powers. For example, the legislative branch (Congress) passes laws, but the executive branch (the President) commands the military and makes decisions related to war and peace.

While the structure of a government influences its ability to serve society, so do other factors such as the number of people who work for it and the amount of money it has. Government agencies have to deal with the realities of limited funding, which affects their ability to hire more employees or to purchase more equipment. They must work within the confines of their budget, which may be set by Congress and the President. They also must work within the limitations of federal rules, which dictate how to carry out their duties and responsibilities.

Some of the challenges that federal workers face include complex job descriptions, long application processes and a lack of flexibility. In addition, many federal workers do not have control over their own budgets, which can contribute to low morale. In turn, this may impact their ability to serve the public in a meaningful way. A federal employee’s career options may also be limited if the agency they work for is not hiring new staff or offering opportunities for additional training and certification. This may be especially true for agencies that handle highly sensitive information or complex legal matters. These factors can contribute to dissatisfaction and turnover in the federal workforce. However, there are some agencies that do offer a positive work experience for their employees. These include a wide variety of benefits, such as paid vacation, sick and parental leave, subsidized health insurance and tuition assistance for professional training.