Government is the body of people that rules a country and has responsibility for the safety of its citizens, stability at home and abroad, establishing laws, and providing valuable goods like education, fire protection, and postal services (Figure 1.2). It also provides health care and food, and maintains strict security at the borders.

One of the most important jobs of government is to protect common goods such as wildlife, water, and clean air. Because these resources are not in unlimited supply, they must be protected so that a few people do not take them all and leave others with nothing. Government is the only organization that can protect these resources and ensure that they remain available for all to use.

Another vital job of government is to provide social programs for its citizens. These can include welfare payments, job training, and food stamps. These are a way of trying to prevent poverty in the country, but there is a lot of debate over how much of a role governments should play in this area. Some think that the government should be very limited in its role, while others believe that it can make a big difference in people’s lives.

The third important job of government is to collect taxes and fees and allocate them to specific purposes. This is a major task at both the local and national level. The money collected from taxes and fees is what the government uses to fund its programs, projects, and operations.

At the state level, representatives elected by the people try to secure funding for things that will benefit the state’s residents, such as construction of new schools and roads, maintenance of existing ones, wildlife management, and other priorities. On the national level, money is allocated for items such as military spending, Medicare, Social Security, and a host of other items. The government negotiates a budget for each legislation period and works to balance the incomes and expenditures.

The fourth important job of government is to regulate the relationship between business and society. This is a complicated issue because the government needs to be both friendly to businesses by providing them with financial, advisory and other services, and it must be able to establish and enforce consumer-protection and worker-safety laws. The tension between these two positions can cause a great deal of conflict. However, as technology continues to advance, it is possible that the relationship between the government and businesses will become more collaborative than ever before. This will require the creation and enforcement of a new set of rules. The emergence of these new rules will be a critical test for the future of the global economy.

By mei0123