Government is the system of people entrusted with the authority and responsibility to make rules for an organized community, typically a nation. Governments have various duties and responsibilities in a society including protecting its citizens, providing stability, managing national security, regulating the economy, and overseeing public services. While governments may have a similar list of responsibilities, the way those responsibilities are accomplished can vary significantly from one country to another, depending on the type of government.
Governments also regulate access to common goods like natural resources, water and wildlife. This is important because these goods are in limited supply and if people use too much of them, there will be none left for others. Governments can help control this by limiting how many people can have free use of these things by setting up a system called a permit or license. This helps to prevent too much use of the resource and protects the environment.
There are a wide variety of different ways that governments can be structured, from a dictatorship to a democracy. The form of government that a country has is determined by its Constitution, which defines how the government will be formed, how it will function, and what powers it will have. Governments can be classified by the people who are in charge of them, based on whether they are run by one person (an autocracy), by a small group of select individuals (an oligarchy), or by the whole population as a whole (a democracy).
In the United States, Congress sets the laws for the government, and the president, cabinet, and Supreme Court carry them out. Congress is made up of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The number of House of Representatives members is determined by the total population, and those representatives are elected every two years in even-numbered years. The number of Senators varies by state, but the entire Senate is up for election every 10 years.
A third branch, the judicial, is responsible for evaluating laws and presidential actions to ensure they are constitutional. In addition, there are a large number of agencies within the executive and legislative branches that handle specific functions such as minting money and military deployment.
Many governments are taking advantage of a new strategy for connecting with the public, known as open government. This involves making information available to the public that is previously private, such as financial records and official documents. It is a powerful tool that can be used to hold government officials accountable. For example, open data is being used to track the effectiveness of public schools and hospitals. This strategy is also being implemented by businesses seeking to improve their operations by measuring the efficiency of their services. Increasing transparency in the economy and public sectors is an important goal for many countries.