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What is government?

+2 votes

I couldn't find a question on here that specifically addresses what government is, so I thought I'd make one. What is government or how would you define it? How is it determined when something is or isn't government? Are there requirements for something to be considered a government? 

asked Oct 25, 2015 by human (3,660 points)
retagged Oct 25, 2015 by human
Perhaps an interesting point here is embedded in the word is the assumption that there must be a discrete, identifiable system for controlling human impulses, as opposed to the control being woven in with the ordinary function of our lives.

The analogy that comes to mind is the "governor" on a steam engine, which is a separate part that manages the otherwise destructive power of the device.

1 Answer

0 votes

so i guess the dictionary definition of government does for me...

1. the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states; direction of the affairs of a state, community, etc.; political administration;

2. the form or system of rule by which a state, community, etc., is governed;
3.  the governing body of persons in a state, community, etc.; administration.

and the confusing part comes with the distinction between a State and a government.

answered Oct 27, 2015 by dot (50,330 points)
The oed has a pretty good definition for it. A bit similar to the definitions you provided.

Government - 1a. The action of ruling; continuous exercise of authority over the action of subjects or inferiors; authoritative direction or regulation; control, rule.

b. the action of ruling and directing affairs of a state; political rule and administration.
interesting. i have always thought of "government" as the system/institution, and "governance" as the act/action/process/etc.
copy editor dot says F@ is correct and then goes back into her tunnel...