GovernmentA government is an organization that has the power to make and enforce laws for a certain territory. There are several definitions on what exactly constitutes a government.
The government has been defined as the dominant decision-making arm (the policy elite) of the state. The latter has been defined (by the political economist Max Weber and later political philosophy) as the organization that holds a monopoly in legitimate use of violence within its territory. If seen in ethical terms, the definition of "legitimate" is open to discussion, and implies that an organisation may be considered a state by its supporters but not by its detractors. Some define "legitimate" as simply involving active and tacit support by the vast majority of the population, i.e., the absence of civil war. (An entity that shares military/police power with independent militias and bandits is not a state in this view. It may be a "failed state.") Democratic control over the government -- and thus the state -- would encourage the legitimacy of the state in this view.
Government can also be defined as the political means of creating and enforcing laws; typically via a bureaucratic hierarchy. Under this definition, a purely despotic organisation which controls a territory without defining laws would not be considered a government.
An alternative is to define a government as an organisation that attempts to maintain control of a territory, where "control" involves activities such as collecting taxes, controlling entry and exit to the state, preventing encroachment of territory by neighbouring states and preventing the establishment of alternative governments within the country.
Governments concern themselves with many issues, such as economics, education, health, science, territory, and war.
The modern standard unit of territory comprises a country. In addition to the meaning used above, the word state can refer either to a government or to its territory. Within a territory, subnational entities may have local governments which do not have the full power of a national government.
Governments use a variety of methods to maintain control, such as police and military forces, (particularly under despotism, see also police state), making agreements with other states, and maintaining support within the state. Typical methods of maintaining support and legitimacy include providing infrastructure for justice, administration , transport, social welfare etc., claiming support of deities, providing benefits to influential groups, holding elections
for important posts within the state, limiting the power of the state through laws and constitutions and appealing to nationalism. Groups opposed to government control include libertarians and anarchists.
Various forms of government have been implemented or proposed. A government in a developed state is likely to have various sub-organisations known as offices, departments, or agencies, which are headed by politically appointed officials, often called ministers or secretaries. Ministers may in theory act as advisors to the head of state, but in practice have a certain amount of direct power in specific areas. In most modern democracies, the elected legislative assembly has the power to dismiss the government, though the head of state generally has great latitude in appointing a new one.
Government is also a name given, in debating events and competitions, to the team which supports and tries to prove a motion.
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Government Purchasing Project
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Government Accountability Project: Whistleblower Support
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Ombudsmen To Promote Government Integrity
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Almanac of Policy Issues: Government Reform
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Gorge Reality Inc.
Site critical of the 1986 Congressional Act which created the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area over the objections of local residents. Includes history, petition, profiles of people adversely affected, and current news.
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Argues that government control has increased at the expense of individual liberties in the US and the world at large.
Documents polygraph false positive cases and provides information on FBI and other government agencies' polygraph policies. Features an active message board.
Federation of American Scientists
Topics covered include Arms Sales Monitoring, Biological Weapons, CyberStrategy, Intelligence Reform, Military Analysis, Monitoring Emerging Diseases, Nuclear Weapons, Secrecy and Government, and Space Policy. Site also has links to various Washington-based working groups.
Project on Government Oversight
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Citizens' lobbying group with 250,000 members nationwide devoted to making government more accountable and ethical at the national, state and local level. Widely regarded as the leading organization working for campaign finance reform.
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The web site of the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan, non-profit U.S. research group which tracks money in politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Aimed at creating a more educated voter, an involved citizenry, and a more responsive government.
The Center for Public Integrity
Conducts investigative journalism on the influence of corporate lobbyists and other special interests in public policy. Current news and reports, list of current projects, and information about sponsored groups.
Center for Governmental Studies
Non-profit, non-partisan organization that studies and helps implement innovative approaches to improving social problems and the processes of self-government in the areas of political reform, media and civic participation, and sustainable communities.
Congressional Accountability Project
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Forum for all people concerned discussing American imperialism, culture and injustice on the rest of the world
The Problems of Not Having a TV in the UK.
An example of how people who do not have televisions are treated by the British Television Licensing Authority.
Public Governance and Management, OECD
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The True Size of Government
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The Memory Hole
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Better Government Association
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USDOJ and Government Watch
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The Clinton Administration has admitted to paying the television networks to give the government editorial control of television shows. Not a joke.
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National Security Archive
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