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The only thing that all forms of government have in common is that they have the authority over the people in their country. They have the right to commit violence against people within their country if people break the laws, for example. They have the right to make the laws the people must obey. Morally, at least, they all have the responsibility for creating a country that will give their people physical security and economic opportunity.
Outside of that, there are major differences between various types of governments. One form of government is a totalitarian government. This sort of government tries to control every aspect of its people’s lives. They essentially have no freedoms or rights that the government must respect. North Korea has such a government today. On the opposite side of the spectrum are democratic governments like those of the United States or Canada. In these countries, the governments are elected by the people and must respond to what the people want. They tend to have laws that limit what the government can do so that the government cannot abuse the people’s rights.
Within democracies, there are also various kinds of government. For example, there are social democracies, such as in the Scandinavian countries and other parts of Europe. These governments feel that they are responsible for the welfare of their citizens. Therefore, they provide many kinds of services to the citizens. They give them ample welfare benefits, for example, if they cannot find jobs. This is very different from a government like that of the United States which is reluctant to provide such services.
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