What Governments Do 1

No government has unlimited resources. Choices must be made. For the next several days we will highlight here some of the main functions of the US government along with comparisons to other governments around the world.

Most governments have a military to defend their territory, police to keep order, and a judicial system to prosecute people who break the law. In some countries and times, government leaders stay in power by using the military, police, and judicial system to repress the poor or various religious, racial, or ethnic groups. (Haiti under President François Duvalier is a good example.) In other countries and times, the military focus only on national defense, the police protect citizens and their property from criminals, and the courts are used to settle disputes and weigh evidence in criminal cases in a competitive system framed by mutually understood rules.

Excerpted from What Should Governments Do For Us.

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