From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so [...]. --Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
"In his 1937 book A History of Political Theory, George Sabine collected the views of many political theorists on consent of the governed. He notes the idea mentioned in 1433 by Nicholas of Cusa in De Concordantia Catholica. In 1579 an influential Huguenot tract Vindiciae contra tyrannos was published which Sabine paraphrases: "The people lay down the conditions which the king is bound to fulfill. Hence they are bound to obedience only conditionally, namely, upon receiving the protection of just and lawful government…the power of the ruler is delegated by the people and continues only with their consent."" --Sholem Stein
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. It can also describe the leadership of a supranational organization, such as the United Nations or the EU, or a political region, or local units, such as a county, city, or township.
"Government" generally refers to the organizational structure that makes laws, sets policy, and runs the day-to-day affairs of some political unit, region, or community. As such, it generally is not used to refer to organizations that are considered to be privately owned or privately run, such as e.g. a business, a corporation or company, private organization, or any private entity.
In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy. Each government has a kind of constitution, a statement of its governing principles and philosophy. Typically the philosophy chosen is some balance between the principle of individual freedom and the idea of absolute state authority (tyranny).
While all types of organizations have governance, the term government is often used more specifically, to refer to the approximately 200 independent national governments and subsidiary organizations globally.
Historically prevalent forms of government include monarchy, aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, theocracy and tyranny. The main aspect of any philosophy of government is how political power is obtained, with the two main forms being electoral contest and hereditary succession.
- List of forms of government
- Central government
- Comparative government
- Constitutional economics
- Deep state
- Digital democracy
- Government effectiveness index
- History of politics
- Legal rights
- List of countries by system of government
- List of European Union member states by political system
- Political economy
- Political history
- Prime ministerial government
- State (polity)
- Voting system
- World government
Certain major characteristics are defining of certain types; others are historically associated with certain types of government.
- Rule according to higher law (unwritten ethical principles) vs. written constitutionalism
- Separation of church and state or free church vs. state religion
- Civilian control of the military vs. stratocracy
- Totalitarianism or authoritarianism vs. libertarianism
- Majority rule or parliamentary sovereignty vs. constitution or bill of rights with separation of powers and supermajority rules to prevent tyranny of the majority and protect minority rights
- Androcracy (patriarchy) or gynarchy (matriarchy) vs. gender quotas, gender equality provision, or silence on the matter
- Sovereignty located exclusively at the centre of political jurisdiction.
- Sovereignty located at the centre and in peripheral areas.
- Diverging degrees of sovereignty.
- Asymmetrical federalism
- Associated state
- Corpus separatum
- Crown colony
- Chartered company
- Dependent territory
- Occupied territory
- Occupied zone
- Exclusive mandate
- Military Frontier
- Neutral zone
- Colonial dependency
- Vassal state
- Satellite state
- Puppet state
- Unrecognized state
- Provisional government
- Territorial disputes
- Non-self-governing territories
- League of Nations
- Decentralisation and devolution (powers redistributed from central to regional or local governments)