politics introducing politics and government

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  • Created by: zun
  • Created on: 02-11-13 16:41

what is politics?

politics is the activity through which people make, uphold and revise the general rules under which they live.

what are the general rules?

general rules are rules that affet how we interact more widley with other members of society. so they are rules which affect how we behave within our community (public life) rather than our private life.

examples of public life include; law and order, the economy, defence, social welfare.

examples of private life include: who to marry, religious belief. 

however there is no balance between public life and private life. for example in may 2008 the daily telegraph published the first of many documents regarding the expense scandel. many politicans were spending money on their own luxuary instead of using it for the people. examples include using the money to pay off already paid morgages and cleaning duck houses. however some people may argue that the media pick out a minority of politicans who do this. despite this 4 out of 10 people beieve that the politicans will not put the national interest first.

why are general rules needed?

general rules are needed because there will always be conflict. most of the time people argue about how the wealth and other recources in society should be distributed. general rules seek to resolve conflict and allow people with different views to live together within the same society.

how are the rules made?

there are many different types of government but they all have one thing in common. they each operate on th basis of power.power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others, usually through rewards and punishment. however athority is even more important than power. authority is the right to influece the behaviour of others, based on an acknoledged duty to obey. authority can also be defined as ligitimate power. power that people believe they should obey, rather than obey through fear or intimidation.

there are three types of authority;

  • traditional authority (based on history and the belief that something has always happened)
  • charismatic authority (based on personality)
  • legal rational authority (based on formal and impersonal rules)

all political systems try and turn power into authority, and they do so through a guest of legitimacy. ligitimacy also means rightfulness; legitimacy confers on a command or order an authoritative or binding character,meaning that it should be obeyed.

what is government?

government is a set of institutions through which the general rules of society (usually called laws) are made and enforced.

in other words government is the machinery through which politics operated.

  • legislation- making laws
  • execution- carrying out laws
  • adjudication- interpreting laws

how powerful is government?

there are two types of government. authoritarian government and limited government. limited government operated within a framework  of checks and constraints. this protects individual freedom and over-mighty government.the main way of limiting governemt power is through comstitutions (rules that govern the government itself) and by fragementing government through the creation of a number of institutuions which can


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