Government is the means by which people manage the affairs of a unit or community. It sets policies and carries out those policies through laws, customs, and institutions. Governments have many responsibilities but some core ones are protection, national security, foreign policy, and public services. A government can take on many forms but generally it involves an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch.
Governments have evolved to protect people, property, and resources. People recognized that it was easier to survive if they stayed together in groups and agreed to limit the power of some individuals over others. This recognition led to the formation of government and the idea that a group (later a nation) could claim sovereignty, or a right to manage its own affairs without interference from other nations.
The nature of governments varies, depending on what kind of society one wants to live in. Some societies believe that a powerful central government is best, while others prefer a looser structure with less control from the center. A centralized government may be involved in every aspect of society while a looser government only imposes taxes and other basic rules.
At its most basic, a government is a legal entity that can enforce the laws of the land. It has a number of functions, such as ensuring that a person is not discriminated against and providing a fair trial. It also provides protection from aggression, natural disasters, and disease. It also has a role in providing welfare programs, although this is a controversial subject in many countries.
Many government officials are elected or appointed and are responsible to the citizens of the nation they represent. This gives the government legitimacy and makes it a moral institution. A government also provides for checks and balances, which limits the power of the governing body and guarantees the rights of its citizens.
Governments can be either friends or foes of business, depending on the values of the citizens who elect them. For example, a society that supports collectivism may want a government that promotes large scale social programs and higher taxes to pay for them. Alternatively, a society that is more concerned with individualism might vote for a party that favors a laissez faire capitalism and lower taxes. In any case, the relationship between a government and businesses is complex because both need each other to function in the economy.