Thursday, April 8, 2010

DEFINITION OF GOVERNMENT AND LAW

DEPARTMENT URBAN AND INFRASTRUCTURE ENGINEERING

UE–414: LAW AND REGULATORY CONTROL STUDIES

By

RAVINDAR KUMAR
Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology
Karachi

LECTURE NO. 02
TOPIC: DEFINITION OF GOVERNMENT AND LAW

WHAT IS GOVERNMENT?
A Government is the body within a community, political entity or organization which has the authority to make and enforce rules, laws and regulations. Typically, the term "government" refers to a civil government or sovereign state which can be either local, national, or international. However, commercial, academic, religious, or other formal organizations are also governed by internal bodies. Such bodies may be called boards of directors, managers, or governors or they may be known as the administration (as in schools) or councils of elders (as in churches). The size of governments can vary by region or purpose. Growth of an organization advances the complexity of its government, therefore small towns or small-to-medium privately-operated enterprises will have fewer officials than typically larger organizations such as multinational corporations which tend to have multiple interlocking, hierarchical layers of administration and governance. As complexity increases and the nature of governance become more complicated, so does the need for formal policies and procedures.


WHAT IS A SOVEREIGN STATE?
A sovereign state, commonly simply referred to as a state, is a political association with effective internal and external sovereignty over a geographic area and population which is not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. While in abstract terms a sovereign state can exist without being recognised by other sovereign states, unrecognised states will often find it hard to exercise full treaty-making powers and engage in diplomatic relations with other sovereign states. In casual usage, the terms "country", "nation", and "state" are often used as if they were synonymous; but in a more strict usage they can be distinguished: Nation denotes a people who are believed to or deemed to share common customs, origins, and history. However, the adjectives national and international also refer to matters pertaining to what are strictly sovereign states, as in national capital, international law. State refers to the set of governing and supportive institutions that have sovereignty over a definite territory and population.


FORM OF GOVERNMENT:
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized in order to exert its powers over a body politic. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government". This definition holds even if the government is unsuccessful in exerting its power.

NAMES OF GOVERNMENTS:

Nineteen states in the world do not explicitly name their government forms in their official name (the official name of Canada, for instance, is simply "Canada"), but most have an official name which identifies their form of government, or at least the form of government toward which they are striving:

• Luxembourg is A Grand Duchy.
• The United Arab Emirates is a collection of Muslim states, each an emirate in its own right.
• Russia, Switzerland, and Saint Kitts and Nevis are each A Federation.
• Libya is a Jamahiriya
• There are 33 Kingdoms in the world, but only 18 named as such. The other 15 are known as realms. Jordan is specifically titled the "Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan," while Britain is formally the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
• Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco are each A Principality.
• The word "Republic" is used by 9 nations in their official names. Many specify a type of republic: China as well as Bangladesh are titled a "people's republic; India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic; North Korea a "democratic people's republic"; Egypt and Syria "Arab republics"; Guyana a "cooperative republic"; Algeria is a "democratic and popular republic," Vietnam a "socialist republic," Sri Lanka a "democratic socialist republic.
States which wish to emphasize that their provinces have a fair amount of autonomy from the central government may specifically state this: Germany and Nigeria are each a Federal Republic, Ethiopia is a Federal Democratic Republic, the Comoros is a Federal Islamic Republic, and Brazil is a Federative Republic.
• Venezuela is "Bolivarian republic" which is meant to emphasize its descendance from Simon Bolivar. Uruguay is "Oriental republic" which hints to it being successor of the Provincia Oriental del Río de la Plata.
Government ideology is also a common signifier appended to "republic." Besides the Comoros, four other nations specifically dictate that they are Islamic republics. Pakistan, Mauritania, Iran, and Afghanistan have officially named themselves Islamic Republics.
• Asian nations influenced by Maoism may emphasize their belief system by specifying the People as a whole in their official names: Laos is a People's Democratic Republic, and Bangladesh and China are People's Republics. Vietnam is a Socialist Republic. Finally, Tanzania emphasizes the cohesion of its state as A United Republic.
• Eleven nations simply refer to themselves as states, but a handful specifies what kind of state? Micronesia is made up of Federated States, Papua New Guinea and Samoa emphasize that they are Independent States, while the United States of America and the United Mexican States are made up of Constituent States.
• Brunei and Oman are Sultanates.
• Burma simply states that it is A Union.
• The Vatican, the world's smallest sovereign state, describes itself as A City-State, though its government is the sovereign entity known as the Holy See.

 TYPES OF STATE GOVERNMENT:

• Authoritarian – Authoritarian governments are characterized by an emphasis on the authority of the state in a republic or union. It is a political system controlled by non-elected rulers who usually permit some degree of individual freedom.
Constitutional monarchy – A government that has a monarch, but his/her power is strictly limited by the government. Example: United Kingdom
• Constitutional republic – Rule by a government composed of representatives who are voted into power by the people.
• Democracy – Rule by a government where all [citizens] are represented but power is held by the majority.
Dictatorship – Rule by an individual who has full power over the country. It is also termed as Autocracy and Stratocracy.
• Monarchy – Rule by an individual who has inherited the role and expects to bequeath it to their heir.
Oligarchy – Rule by a small group of people who share similar interests or family relations.
• Plutocracy – A government composed of the wealthy class. Any of the forms of government listed here can be plutocracy. For instance, if all of the voted representatives in a republic are wealthy, then it is a republic and a plutocracy.
• Theocracy – Rule by a religious elite.
• Totalitarian – Totalitarian governments regulate nearly every aspect of public and private life. 
The political philosophy of anarchism opposes government, and is not a form thereof—it is the belief that governments are harmful and unnecessary.

WHAT IS A LAW?
Law is a system of rules, usually enforced through a set of institutions. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as the foremost social mediator in relations between people. Law governs a wide variety of social activities. All legal systems deal with similar issues and behaviors, but each country categorizes and identifies its legal standards and principals in different ways. A common distinction is that between "public law" (a term related closely to the state, and including constitutional, administrative and criminal law), and "private law" (which covers contract and property). In civil law systems, contract fall under a general law of obligations, while trusts law is dealt with international conventions. Law spreads far beyond the core subjects into virtually every area of life. Three categories are of importance here i.e. Law and society, Law and commerce, Law and regulation. Law and society include Labour law, Civil rights and Human rights law, Immigration and nationality law, Social security law and Family law. Law and commerce include Commercial law, Admiralty law and the Law of the Sea, Company law and Intellectual property law. Law and regulation include Tax law, Banking law, Competition law, Consumer law and Environmental law. Regulation deals with the provision of public services and utilities. Especially since privatisation became popular private companies doing the jobs previously controlled by government; energy, gas telecomm and water are regulated industries.
• Australia, the Bahamas, and Dominica are each officially a Commonwealth.

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