Government is the system by which a people or organization rules and controls their affairs. Governments establish laws, manage public resources and protect citizens. They also provide many services that are important to a society, such as education, healthcare, and public safety. Governments vary widely in size and scope. Some are large and powerful, while others are small and localized.

Almost every country has some type of government, and they all have a different way of running it. Most modern governments are democracies, but some are totalitarian regimes or tyrannies. There are also a number of hybrid regimes that combine aspects of the main types of government.

A government sets the rules that its citizens must live by, enforces those rules, and judges any conflicts between the rules. In the United States, the founding fathers set up a system of government called the Constitution that breaks down into the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. This provides a structure for separation of powers and checks and balances so that one branch of the government cannot overpower the other.

Governments also manage access to common goods like natural resources and public schools. These resources are in limited supply, so if too many people take too much of them, there may not be enough left for the rest of the population. Governments can limit access to these common goods by setting fees or requiring permits to use them. They can also regulate the activities that occur on them, such as hunting and mining.

Another role of government is to ensure that its citizens have a minimum level of economic security, or welfare. In the United States, this has been done through social programs such as national medical insurance and food stamps. In other countries, welfare programs are more extensive and can include free housing and clothing. Whether this is the right role for government to play is a matter of political debate.

Working for the government can be a rewarding experience, and it is usually easier to get a job in the public sector than in the private sector. In addition, jobs in the government tend to be more secure, as they are less likely to be eliminated or downsized than other jobs.

A growing number of governments are making their operations more transparent to the public by making information pertaining to government actions available online. This is known as open data and it gives citizens the opportunity to understand how their government works by reviewing documents and statistics that lead to governmental decisions. This can be a valuable tool in helping to build trust in the government and encouraging citizen involvement.