Short & Simple 1 – Government as a Means of Cooperation

Many activities require cooperation at the society-wide level.

As a community, we need to agree upon a set of rules and regulations, and arrange for their supervision and enforcement.

Questions that arise include:

  • Who has access to land and other natural resources, and on what terms and for what purposes?
  • To what extent are property rights transferable, and what are the appropriate procedures for transferring them?
  • Under what circumstances is it acceptable to employ fellow humans in production, and what are the minimum rights and obligations of employer and employee?
  • What limits should be placed on the use of animals in production and what protections should be in place to safeguard their well-being?
  • What ethical, safety and quality standards should apply to products sold in markets?
  • When is market exchange appropriate and when is non-market provision to be preferred?

In large-scale societies, the formulation and enforcement of society’s regulatory framework is carried out by a government executive, legislature and judiciary along with police and defense forces.

In addition to the regulatory framework, key public services need to be provided according to the political will. Likely candidates include universally accessible public education, health care, child and aged care, a fire department and emergency services, along with many other possibilities.

Modern societies seek to provide themselves with social infrastructure, such as road networks, public transport systems, utilities and communications technology.

There is a need for mechanisms of social inclusion and a social safety net.

Societies put in place government to attend to these and related matters in a way, and to an extent, that is hopefully representative of the collective will.