A world without government sounds great. The governments of most countries are corrupt and politics presents many problems for people. In some places, the elected officials end up suppressing the rights and freedoms of individuals. Other countries have tyrannical governments that use military force to impose power. Thus, it may seem that government is universally bad. However, there are still more positive benefits to government than there are drawbacks. For one, government is necessary to create laws that reflect universal rights, freedoms, and values. Without government, there would be no way to effectively enforce laws. It would be too easy for special interest groups like the Ku Klux Klan to impose their will on other people. Second, government is necessary for economic growth and development. Without government, barter and other forms of trade might work fine on a small scale. On a larger scale, people would not have a common currency and other means by which to trade goods and services throughout the world. Finally, government is necessary to organize public works systems such as transportation, communication, and information flow. Without government, it would be extremely difficult to organize interstate highway systems, for example. Therefore, the world would certainly not be better without government because government provides the legal, economic, and social glue for society.
The most important function of government in the world is to create and enforce common laws. In a democratic society, the laws reflect social values of equity and justice for all people. Laws are created so that the rights and freedoms of people are preserved. However, writing down laws and rights on paper such as in the Constitution becomes a meaningless activity without government. Only a government can provide the manpower with which to enforce the laws it creates. Similarly, only a government can provide the public forum within which the people can debate issues and create new laws. In the United States of America, individual states have their own governments. Some laws are created in the states, whereas other laws are federal. This allows for a better democracy because the laws are created and enforced in a way that is congruent with the Constitution.
Unfortunately, governments do not always serve their people as well as the government of the United States and other democracies serve their people. In countries with Sharia law, for example, the government imposes a system of oppression that prevents women from being able to work or wear what they want to in public. The government is tyrannical in many countries around the world. This does not mean that all government is bad, though. Just becomes some governments do not reflect the will of the people does not mean that government in itself is undesirable. The people simply need to take back their political power, and prevent bad people from using government to oppress and control others.
Government is also necessary on a legal level because it makes law enforcement a legitimate power. If there were no government, then there would be no agreed-upon body of people to enforce the law. For example, in the United States of Anarchy, a person would murder an enemy and get away with it. The Constitution might state that killing is punishable by law, but the law is meaningless because there is no political structure to enforce the law. Only private companies and persons could enforce their own laws. This would lead to complete lawlessness. A person could shoot anyone and justify it by saying it was self-defense. There would be no due process of law, because the due process of law depends on a government. The law is by definition an extension of the government. Therefore, the government is necessary to maintain law and order.
Another important function of government is the creation and maintenance of a strong economic system. From the minting of money to the regulation of trade, government is a central force in the economy. An economy could flourish without government on a small scale. For example, I can do business with my neighbor using a barter system. My neighbor might know how to fix electric stoves. My stove is broken, and when I ask my neighbor to fix it, she asks me for something in return. I know how to fix televisions and her television is broken. We trade one service for another, without the intervention of a government. This is an old fashioned type of economy that might still work on a small scale. However, barter and small economies do not work in a world in which nearly seven billion people are already communicating with each other and trading goods and services.
Globalization has made government more important than ever, even though trans-national organizations are also more important than ever before. This is because without government, large corporations would become the rulers of the planet. Rodrick (1997) puts it differently. "Policymakers must, therefore, respond by ensuring that international economic integration does not contribute to domestic social disintegration." Government is the only political or social entity that stands in the way of unbridled greed. We are already dependent on other people for our livelihood. For instance, in New York City a working mother cannot grow all of her vegetables or teach her children how to perform scientific experiments. She needs to purchase her vegetables from a vendor, who in turn buys them from a farm in upstate New York. The mother also needs a teacher who can instruct her son and daughter in science, math, and music. Those teachers are paid for by the government, which is empowered by the people to provide universal education. Because we live in an interdependent world, government is necessary to regulate the flow of goods and services.
Without government, there would be no currency. A private company might be able to print money, but no one would value that money except for the shareholders. Governments are often corrupt in the sense that they work with businesses and use political power to serve the needs of special interest business groups. However, corruption is part of human nature. It would be impossible to have a perfect government. To say that no government would be preferable to imperfect government would be a false statement.
The role of government is especially important in the coordination of funding and resources that provides for infrastructure. For example, a freeway system would be nearly impossible without a government. Only if Richard Branson wanted to design a new interstate system could a non-governmental highway be possible. Even so, most citizens would agree that a privately owned highway system would not work. If the company that built the highway were to go bankrupt, then the roads would no longer be maintained. Also, there would be no one to patrol the roads without government. Highway patrol are part of a government. A network of roads needs to change as cities grow and develop. A private company might only want to built roads that serve its businesses but not individual homes. There are too many problems with excessive privatization, problems that make it clear that government is necessary for major public works projects. Deregulation has caused many public health and welfare disasters that prove the downfall of excessive privatization.
"The massive ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the British Petroleum oil spill is just one telling example of the breakdown of regulation and oversight by the federal government," (Amy 2007). Government needs to be the final barrier between capitalism and ethics. "Governments provide certain services -- such as national defense, administration of justice, education, environmental protection, road construction, space exploration -- for which they are viewed as better suited than private businesses," ("The Role of Government" 2008). Privatization might work well on small-scale systems, because the state cannot control everything without…