Government is the system by which a country or community rules itself through laws, policies, and regulations. It is responsible for establishing and enforcing laws, maintaining order, providing services and systems that benefit the citizens of a country, and representing its people in legal action within the spheres of the economy and society.

Government began as early humans recognized the need to protect their families, tribes, and communities from outside threats and from each other. In addition, they realized that their group could be more effective in surviving and progressing towards their goals if one person or small groups had power over others. Governments now exist at all levels of human civilization and are found on every continent.

The most obvious role of a government is to provide security at its borders, as well as in its own territory. This is a very important duty and is carried out in various ways depending on the type of government.

Another key function of a government is to set and enforce standards for the safety, health, and prosperity of its people. Governments can do this through education, regulation, and social programs. Governments also play a major economic role, regulating markets and redistributing income. They also provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, and define and protect property rights.

One of the most controversial functions of a government is to take care of its citizens, and this is done in many different ways. For example, most countries today have national medical insurance and welfare programs that help those in need. The benefits of these programs can be significant, but many people criticize the cost and argue that it discourages personal responsibility.

Ultimately, the purpose of any government is to serve its people, and that means taking care of them physically, mentally, and economically. The most successful governments have a clear understanding of their mission, and they are guided by the needs of their people. This ensures that their policies reflect the will of the people and promote sustainable development.

Governments are made up of a variety of organizations, but most of them share certain characteristics. They are organized into a structure of executive, legislative, and judicial branches that work together to create and implement policy. They must balance the interests of different stakeholders, and they are often required to make difficult decisions that may not be popular with some citizens. In addition, they must find a way to manage a wide range of issues that are beyond the control of any individual or company. This includes managing negative externalities such as overfishing and global warming, or public goods that everyone can use but are in limited supply (such as clean air). This is a very challenging and complex job. Governments raise funds through taxes and fees, as well as borrowing from the public by selling securities. This helps to support the economy and ensures that governments can continue to provide necessary services.