What do you mean by government?

1. the exercise of political authority over the actions, affairs, etc, of a political unit, people, etc, as well as the performance of certain functions for this unit or body; the action of governing; political rule and administration. 2. the system or form by which a community, etc, is ruled. tyrannical government.

A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary

TYPES OF GOVERNMENT

What are the four types of government (oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy, democracy)?

The four types of government are oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy, and democracy. An oligarchy is when a society is ruled by a few people, usually the rich. An aristocracy is when a country is ruled by the upper class, or nobility. A monarchy is when a society is ruled by a king or queen, and a democracy is when a society is ruled by the people themselves or by representatives of the people.

Aristocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, and democracy are old concepts of government which can be traced back to Ancient Greece.

Aristocracy is “rule by the best,” and the concept comes from Plato’s Republic. Plato argued for an aristocracy of philosopher kings. He thought that philosophers were ideally suited to political leadership. Historically, aristocracies have been based on wealth or land ownership. But other criteria have been used throughout the ages.

Monarchies have often flourished alongside aristocracies. Both have been the targets of revolutionaries, as in eighteenth-century France. Monarchies are ruled by a king or queen. Throughout most of history, the monarchs’ powers were absolute. Today, most are constitutional monarchs, and they serve as symbols of the state with few real powers. However, Saudi Arabia is an example of a country where the king still holds great power.

Democracy is “rule by the people” themselves or through their representatives. Today, this is the dominant form of government in the West. However, many believe that their representatives do not always act in the interests of the people they represent. For instance, in the United States, elected representatives often pass legislation that overwhelmingly benefits the affluent classes or corporations. Another problem with modern-day democracy is low voter turnout.

Oligarchy is “rule by the few,” and that often means the rich. Many people believe that the United States is now an oligarchy rather than a democracy. Billionaires donate huge sums to candidates and are usually rewarded by the passage of favorable legislation. One way to combat this problem is by public financing of election campaigns.

WHAT IS E-GOVERNMENT?

E-government is the use of technological communications devices, such as computers and the Internet, to provide public services to citizens and other persons in a country or region

eGovernment is the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve the activities of public sector organisations.

Some definitions restrict e-government to Internet-enabled applications only, or only to interactions between government and outside groups.  Here, we do not – all digital ICTs are included; all public sector activities are included.

In our definition, then, governments have been practising e-government for more than 50 years: using that first mainframe in the Statistics Office was “e-government”.  We just didn’t give it that name 50 years ago.

This definition demonstrates how e-Government uses ICTs as a support tool in the development of good governance. The appropriate application of e-Government allows for higher levels of effectiveness and efficiency in governmental tasks, improvement of processes and procedures, increases the quality of public services, also improves the use of information in the decision-making processes and allows for better communication among different governmental offices.

Municipalities have a unique direct interaction with citizens. The relationship between municipalities and their citizens is unavoidable: business registrations, auto registry, real state development or even the subscription of a child in a school, for instance – all require citizens to come in contact with the municipality. The e-Government objective is to create a new dynamic relation between governments and citizens: a cycle that will become simpler and more participative for citizens. In order to achieve this, it is not only important for the introduction of technology in the conventional tasks of the municipality, but also in public sector management, with public citizens and their needs being the focal point of this innovation. The catalyst of this public administration renovation are the ITCs.

A significant increase in the use of ICTs over the past few years, has had a great impact on different aspects of society and economic activities by making everyday procedures easier and more efficient.

B. What Does eGovernment Cover?

There are three main domains of e-government, illustrated in Figure 1 (adapted from: Ntiro, S. (2000) eGovernment in Eastern Africa, KPMG, Dar-es-Salaam) :

Respectively, these particularly address the problems that government is too costly, too inefficient and too ineffective (e-admininstration); too self-serving and too inconvenient (e-citizens and e-services); and too insular (e-society).

Figure 1: Focal Domains for eGovernment Initiatives

In a little more detail, the domains of e-government are as follows.

B1. Improving Government Processes: eAdministration

eGovernment initiatives within this domain deal particularly with improving the internal workings of the public sector.  They include:

  • Cutting process costs : improving the input:output ratio by cutting financial costs and/or time costs.
  • Managing process performance : planning, monitoring and controlling the performance of process resources (human, financial and other).
  • Making strategic connections in government : connecting arms, agencies, levels and data stores of government to strengthen capacity to investigate, develop and implement the strategy and policy that guides government processes.
  • Creating empowerment : transferring power, authority and resources for processes from their existing locus to new locations.

B2. Connecting Citizens: eCitizens and eServices

Such initiatives deal particularly with the relationship between government and citizens: either as voters/stakeholders from whom the public sector should derive its legitimacy, or as customers who consume public services.  These initiatives may well incorporate the process improvements identified in section B1.  However, they also include a broader remit:

  • Talking to citizens : providing citizens with details of public sector activities.  This mainly relates to certain types of accountability: making public servants more accountable for their decisions and actions.
  • Listening to citizens : increasing the input of citizens into public sector decisions and actions.  This could be flagged as either democratisation or participation.
  • Improving public services : improving the services delivered to members of the public along dimensions such as quality, convenience and cost.

B3. Building External Interactions: eSociety

Such initiatives deal particularly with the relationship between public agencies and other institutions – other public agencies, private sector companies, non-profit and community organisations.  As with citizen connections, these initiatives may well incorporate the process improvements identified in section B1.  However, they also include a broader remit:

  • Working better with business : improving the interaction between government and business.  This includes digitising regulation of, procurement from, and services to, business to improve quality, convenience and cost.
  • Developing communities : building the social and economic capacities and capital of local communities.
  • Building partnerships : creating organisational groupings to achieve economic and social objectives.  The public sector is almost always one of the partners, though occasionally it acts only as a facilitator for others.

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