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Reading Material 2

Atty Reyaine Mendoza-Clavano

THE CONCEPTS OF GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNANCE

Government refers to the body of people and institutions that make and enforce laws for a society. It
has been said that there are no societies of man without governments and different societies necessarily
require different forms of government. But although these governments vary from one form to another,
they share some characteristics. These characteristics are best seen once government is compared to
other social organizations.

A. GOVERNMENT AND OTHER SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS: A COMPARISON IN TERMS OF


COMPREHENSIVE AUTHORITY

Government Other Social Organizations


Authority over the entire society which includes Authority applicable only to members of the
social organizations together with their members. organization

IN TERMS OF INVOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP

Government Other Social Organizations


Membership to the state most of the time, Membership is voluntary Withdrawal from the
without deliberate choice – the same with organization is easy.
subjection to the government.

Membership or withdrawal Is very difficult and


complicated, and in some cases impossible.

IN TERMS OF AUTHORITATIVE RULE

Government Other Social Organizations


Authority is directly binding to all members of the Authority over members is weak
society.
Rules of one social organization may conflict with
The rules of the government (i.e. laws) are above that of other social organization.
any rules of social organizations.
There is no accepted hierarchy among
Although Social Organizations may influence organizations.
governmental processes, the government can
declare an organization unconstitutional or illegal

IN TERMS OF LEGITIMATE MONOPOLY OF OVERWHELMING FORCE

Government Other Social Organizations


It legitimately utilizes a highly organized, specially It provides sanctions and can even expel
trained, and adequately armed police and members from the organization. Expulsion as its
military forces. ultimate legitimate weapon. It does not have its

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own police force or armed forces, nor has the
power to punish erring members with death.

IN TERMS OF THE DEGREE OF STAKES IT PURSUES

Government Other Social Organizations


Objectives cover the fate of the entire nation, It only tries to advance the interest of the
and for the superpowers, the survival or demise organization Goals are limited and narrow.
of the entire humanity (e.g. USA and USSR in cold
war era, etc.)

It is important to take note that the uniqueness of States (and their governments) lies on the concept of
sovereignty and independence.

However, the recent actual and theoretical challenges to the concept of State sovereignty (by
International Governmental organizations, like the United Nations and the European Union) and
independence (from Multinational Corporations like the Philip – Morris International, Toyota, and Ford
Motors and other world organizations like the IMF and the World Bank) have caused the diminishing
importance of States as actors in international politics.

B. BASIC TASKS AND TOOLS OF GOVERNMENT


(1.) State Security and Defense
The primary interest of the State is to defend its independence against internal and external
enemies. Its integrity and survival includes the use of whatever means necessary to keep
domestic conflicts from becoming a national threat. Here, it is important to dichotomize
between the State and the government as two different entities: The State is an aggregation
of attributes which include the government (aside from its people, its territory, sovereignty
and independence). The government is an instrumentality which State uses to maintain its
well-being (the independence of its people and the integrity of its territory). As such, the
threat to the survival of the government is not necessarily a threat to the survival of the State.
The government, in short, is different from the State.

(2.) Interest Articulation


Interest Articulation is a process of forming and expressing demands by political interest
groups and transmitting demands to government and authorities.

(3.) Interest Aggregation


It is the process of combining the demands of different interest groups into public policies. It
involves the art of compromise dealing with various groups having various interest and
demands. The process ensures that no group will be ignored in the formulation of the policy.

(4.) Coercion and Compromise


The objective of the government here is to get compliance. To get this compliance, the
government threats or actually imposes force and other form of sanctions. However, the
government may offer a compromise with interested parties where it tries to satisfy a part of
their demands to minimize cost, or when it tries to limit lost (as imposed by the deal).