The Necessity Of Government And Governance For Modern Society

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It is a privilege to be living in such a great time, where everything is changing, for instance, the exponential growth of population, globalization, and a high rate of urbanization, in both developing and developed countries. In both developing and developed countries, citizens have a lot of expectations from the state to which they belong or come from (Pillora and Mckinlay 2011). This is where the state has a lot of promises to fulfill and service deliveries to be met, in order to have a peaceful state at all times. How all of these expectations, promises, and demands are met, needs to be addressed by the right people in an appropriate institution, which is the government. But what is government and why is it important? (Yilmaz and Venugopal 2010) defines government as a structure made up of political executives and officials executive: and the role of the government is to guarantee public value to the public, private and non-profit organizations: this structure is expected to be transparent and accountable, without dismissing jurisdiction department (Hoekstra and Kaptein 2012).

Government is divided into two categories which are the democratic government (which is currently used in South Africa and other countries) and open government (which originated with the former USA president Obama) (Chatwin and Arku 2017). The democratic government acknowledges the open government because of its mandate which aims to restore trust and acknowledgment from the public and other sectors (Williamson and Eisen 2016).

According to (Chatwin and Arku 2017) “Open government is defined as a practice of integrating external knowledge into the political and administrative processes’’.

Open government goes hand in hand with the principle of good governance, and efficiency through reforms such as new public management (Chatwin and Arku 2017; Williamson and Eisen 2016). Good governance aligns with legitimacy, transparency, accountability, and participation(Anon 2016). For all this to take place there needs to be decentralization of decision-making (Pierre et al. 2000). Therefore hierarchy in this context is very important because issues that need governance differ from one scale to another (Enroth 2014; Robichau 2011).

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Governance has become the cornerstone of the political and academic debate, there is a lot of discourse as to if this concept will bring about changes and more ideas in the present era (Enroth 2014). According to (Robichau 2011)governance is the process in which the implementation of decision-making takes place, emphasis on decision-making is decentralized so that the society can have an idea of what decisions have been taken and participate. (Pierre et al. 2000)continues to argue that governance is related to changing the existing relationship between the state and society in decision-making, but the state always has the upper hand in political power.

The governance concept is explained in different approaches, one of these approaches is called the modern art of governing. According to the modern art of governing (Enroth 2014), state that no structure/ institution will ever be governed, however only people can be governed. The approach has not only brought complications in terms of understanding the concept but brought confusion in terms of knowing if the political structure and state don’t require governance and if it does where is it applicable? (Enroth 2014). In the modern art approach, the concept of governance discourse is taking us from governing produced policy for society to the art of actually solving problems without necessary references to society or the institutions (Enroth 2014).

Besides the modern art of governing, there is meta governance, which focuses on the state that governs the self-regulation of the interactions among stakeholders and how it can strategically direct the capacities of the involved actors toward its policy agendas(Jessop 2011). Literature also outlines how the state governs the self-regulation of the interactions among stakeholders and how it can strategically direct the capacities of the involved actors toward its policy agendas (Robichau 2011). Furthermore, meta-governance requires an interactive perspective concerned to balance social interests and facilitate the interaction of actors and systems through self-organization, arrangements, or more interventionist forms of organization (Jessop 2011; Meuleman and Niestroy 2015)

The aforementioned information has outlined the difference between government and governance, and how they relate to one other. Government is being said as a structure that enforces policies and also ensures that the resources are shared amongst the citizens of the public (Hoekstra and Kaptein 2012). In addition (Yilmaz and Venugopal 2010)further describe it as a formalized institution of the state, which makes the decision with a specific legal framework and uses public resources in a financially accountable way. And most of these decisions are backed up by the legitimate hierarchical power of the state (Bryson, Crosby, and Bloomberg 2014; Pierre et al. 2000)

Whereas governance, on the other hand, involves government plus other parties in influencing and negotiating with a range of public and private sectors to achieve a favourable outcome, considering what is going on the ground (Durán and Saltman 2016). Furthermore governance perspective encourages collaboration between the people on the ground, and private and non-profit organizations to achieve a mutual goal (Bryson et al. 2014). From all the information gathered it can be concluded that the government is not governing. Government is a structure and governing is the process.


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  13. Yilmaz, Serdar and Varsha Venugopal. 2010. ‘Local Government Discretion and Accountability in the Philippines.’ Journal of International Development 25(2):227–50.
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