Government is a system through which the people of a nation, state or other political unit exercise authority and power. It is responsible for creating and enforcing rules of society, protecting the economy, and providing services to citizens. Governments are obligated to serve the needs of their citizens, and this requires that they make decisions based on a combination of facts, evidence, and opinions. The basic functions of a government are to ensure the safety and security of the citizens, protect the environment, and educate children.

To perform these functions, a government must raise money to pay for the things it is obligated to do. This is accomplished through taxes, fees and charges for certain goods and services. It is common for governments to draft budgets which detail how funds collected will be used. On the local level, these funds are allocated to city councils and township boards of supervisors to provide services for their communities. On the state level, the money is sent to state colleges and universities, the maintenance of roads and bridges, wildlife management, and more. On the national level, the money is distributed to agencies to fund programs such as Social Security, defense, and education.

There are many different ways to organize a government, and the exact nature of a specific system often depends on the culture of a given region or nation. However, most governments are organized into distinct institutions called branches of government that have different powers, duties, and responsibilities. Some types of government, such as a democracy or republic, are characterized by a separation of powers and checks and balances. Other types of government, such as a monarchy or autocracy, are characterized by one person or group holding complete control.

Depending on the type of government, the people may also be involved in the process of making decisions by voting for representatives to sit on various government bodies. Some of these bodies are legislative, and they have the power to pass laws, while others are executive or administrative. In general, most of these legislative bodies are elected by the people, and their members are expected to be accountable for their actions.

The other main function of a government is to enforce the rules of society, and it is important that these rules are fair. A well-functioning government should be able to ensure that the rights of all people are respected and protected, regardless of age, gender, religion, race or ethnicity, and financial status. This includes freedom of speech, a free press, and the right to vote.

Some people argue that governments should be a friend of business, but this can cause conflicts when the same entities that are supposed to protect consumers and workers become a block to innovation and new products. Additionally, businesses are often critical of regulation because they believe that the rules limit their ability to compete in the marketplace. While these concerns are valid, many of the rules are necessary to protect the environment, prevent criminal activity, and ensure worker safety.