Politics in Minutes (2016)

Government and leadership

Civilization came with the establishment of settled communities – towns and cities, and eventually nation states and empires. For these societies to thrive, they needed a more formal system of organization than the absolute rule of a tribal leader. This required formulating rules and regulations, and the means to enforce them – the business of government. Among other things, governments have the authority to make and enforce laws, collect taxes and order military forces. Who acquires and administers this power is the business of politics.

Modern societies are more often than not governed by a group of people. The notion of leadership runs deep in the human psyche, however, and there are still some states in the world ruled by a single leader, whether a benign monarch or tyrannical dictator. Even democracies with governments of elected representatives feel the need for a symbolic figurehead, and there is almost invariably a head of state in the form of a monarch, president or prime minister.

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