Government – Functions, Structure, Powers, and Limitations

Government is the system of people who run an organized community. Generally, this organization is a state. In this article, we will look at its functions, structure, powers, and limits. These concepts are vital to understanding the working of government. To understand this concept in detail, we must first understand what exactly is government. Then, we can understand the importance of government. Once we have a grasp of what government is, we can better understand how we can use it.


The modern world has seen many socio-cultural and technological advances, bringing about changes in the functioning of governments. Governments today are no longer limited to ensuring the protection of lives and properties. Their functions have widened to include mobilizing resources to improve the quality of life of the people and distributing them fairly among members of society. In addition, these governments are increasingly involved in more extensive regulation of people’s activities. Below are some of the most common functions of government in the modern world.


Different types of governments have different scopes of powers and functions. Democracies typically delegate more power to the executive branch than to other units of government. On the other hand, autocratic regimes are less likely to delegate more power to local governments. Power devolution also varies from one time to the next within a country. As Friedrich pointed out, federal relations are not static and are likely to change over time as experiences are learned and new laws are passed.


The assertion of power by government is not only dangerous, but it can also make matters worse. Most government programs are far too long, and end up becoming nearly permanent. Milton Friedman famously said, “Nothing in this world is permanent, not even a government program.” For instance, the Tea Tasters Bureau was formed in 1897, in response to reports of impure tea. The agency lasted for 99 years until 1996. And the Johnstown Flood Tax, enacted in 1936 to clean up the aftermath of a natural disaster, is still on the books today.


The limitations of government’s power are varied, but they typically fall under three major categories: neighbours, friends, and enemies. Depending on the case, this can be anything from protecting the national security and health to maintaining public morals. As a consequence, any limitation of a government’s power must be both necessary and proportionate to the goal pursued. The existence of procedural safeguards for the right to be restricted is a key consideration in this context.

Political system

A political system is the formal institutions and processes that are associated with a country’s political organization. It is generally compared to a legal system or an economic, cultural, or religious system, as it includes members of the society in power. Its role is to maintain social integration and change elements of these systems as needed to achieve collective goals. The following are some examples of different types of political systems:

Limitations of power

While many contemporary political thinkers believe in the need for limits on the power of government, critics claim that these limits are unnecessary. For example, environmental regulations have made it easier to prosecute polluting industries. While individuals can seek justice through the legal system, these regulations are supposed to protect the public interest by penalizing polluters on the behalf of the public. In this way, the limits on government power are not as important as they are often thought to be.

Limitations of scope

Government audits are no exception to limitations of scope. Those limitations may be in the form of a refusal to provide information or evidence, refusing to answer questions, or blocking the auditor from investigating sensitive subject matters. These limitations make the audit much more difficult and waste taxpayer funds. Here are some ways to overcome them: