Government Defined Essay, Research Paper
The economic system of the United States is modeled after the theory of capitalism. Capitalism supports free enterprise – private business operating without government regulation (Janada 22). The United States does regulate private business. Sometimes special circumstances arise which threaten to weaken the overall economic stability of the country. In order to sufficiently deal with these situations, the United States government has passed many laws granting certain groups the authority to bring attention to and to stop the threat. This is extremely important in terms of its effects on individuals. It protects the freedoms of individuals, maintains order and stability, and attempts to promote equality.
One example of the ability of the United States government to interfere with the natural progression of the American capitalist society is the existence of antitrust laws. These laws regulate certain actions of individuals, trusts, corps, and combinations of corps in an attempt to prevent or forcibly end a monopoly (Gilbert 21). Since 1989, Microsoft has been repeatedly accused of violating antitrust laws. Many times these accusations have led to an antitrust case being filed against Microsoft. These antitrust laws and lawsuits are extremely important. Despite the verdicts of the cases antitrust laws served their purpose – to maintain the balance of the concepts of freedom, order, and equality. Freedom is one of the three main concepts that government must pursue for its people.
Freedom has two main contexts in which it is used which are freedom of and freedom from. Freedom of is the absence of constraints on behavior; it means freedom to do something (Janada 10). These types of freedoms guarantee individuals certain liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and all other civil liberties. These individual liberties are extremely important in a democracy. Freedom from suggests immunity from fear and want. Freedom from is also important to democracy. It guarantees that certain things cannot be done to anyone (Janada 10). This is important because it places limits on the powers of the government.
Another duty that government must pursue is maintaining order. Order is the rule of law to preserve life and protect property. Maintaining order is the oldest purpose of government (Janada A31). There is also a third aspect associated whit the idea of order. This is the belief in maintaining traditional patterns of social relationships. Both the preservation of life and the protection of property are pursued in similar ways. The most common ways in which government attempts to maintain order are through government legislation, interpretation of the law, and enforcement of the law. The final aspect of order is maintaining traditional patterns of social behavior, also called social order. Social order refers to established patterns of authority in society and to traditional modes of behavior (Janada 20). Social order is, therefore, what society feels is right. For this reason, social order is largely maintained by the society in question along with the government. As the values, beliefs, ideas, etc of a society gradually change over time, the social order will change as well. Even though the social order is continuously changing, it is not upset. The norms of the society change in some value, belief, idea, etc of a large number of the people within a society that is in contrast with the norm of the society and causes the whole society to forget the original social order in order to argue and put an end to the new untraditional values, beliefs, ideas, etc that oppose the old societal norm. Order is a concept that applies to all systems. Most of these systems use a completely unique way of maintaining order. Similarly, different areas that humans try to maintain order within may have other natural ways to better maintain its order. This is why the government must work very hard in order to maintain order; it must decide whether government intervention is needed or whether allowing the natural course of events is appropriate to maintain order in the most proficient way.
The last concept is essential for government to pursue is equality. The concept of equality has many different senses in which it can be used. In terms of what government should pursue, there are two main types of equality, political equality and social equality. Political equality is defined as each citizen has one and only one vote (Janada 14). The fact that all citizens have one and only one vote is crucial in order for the American system of democratic government to survive. From these two facts, equal votes for every citizen and a democratic form of government, one might falsely assume that political equality in the United States is perfect, ideological form where there is 100% political equality. However, this is not the case. Individuals and groups of individuals who control a large amount of some commodity such as wealth, power, or even a respected family name are able to use their commodity to influence the political agenda and the outcomes of legislation. The average American can simply vote on election days and has no more say-so into government affairs except for possibly writing a letter or placing a call to a Representative, both with only a minimal chance of having much of an impact. In the meantime, the wealthy are also writing letters and making phone calls, but these letters and phone calls are connected directly to a Representative. In this way, the wealthy are able to influence a large amount of political decisions despite their small percentage of the population. Because of these individuals and groups who use their wealth or power to unfairly influence politics, many people argue that equality in wealth, education, and status need to be guaranteed in order for true political equality to occur. This concept in which everyone is completely equal is the principle behind the second type of equality that government must pursue, social equality. The success of social equality relies on two main concepts. The first of these concepts is equality of opportunity
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