Every country has a government. In some countries, the government is widely supported. In others, it is decried and there are groups that fight against it. However, look at places where governments are working, you’ll often see a strong and powerful state. Look at countries where governments are failing, you’ll often find weak and corrupt institutions. It’s clear a strong government is good for a country, but why?
1. To Defend The Nation
A first reason why a country needs a strong government is to defend it.
All nations face threats. Other countries can try and destabilise a country, claim its territory or invade it to take its land or resources. A nation needs a strong government in order to effectively defend it against aggressors.
Having a strong government means a country has more power centralised. This helps a nation develop an effective military because it provides the country with revenue and resources with which to develop a modern armed force. A good military is vital to a nation’s defence and a powerful government helps a country create one.
The most effective type of defence for a country is deterrence. A strong government allows a country to develop an effective armed forces. It is able to recruit people into the military, as well as train them. A strong government also helps a country equip its military by purchasing or developing military hardware. An effective military force makes other countries less to attack and countries with strong governments have better militaries.
2. To Deliver Services
A second reason why a country needs a strong government is to deliver services to its people.
Education, healthcare, and utilities are all vital for people to live a healthy and productive life. These services need to be delivered by the state. A strong government means a nation has the resources to effectively coordinate and deliver key services to the population.
For a nation to be successful, public services need to reach all the people of the country. This means even in remote or hard to reach areas, people still need to access quality education, healthcare, and other necessary services. A strong government is needed to run services, especially in rural areas. This is because it can redistribute resources so that funding and infrastructure can be in place to ensure quality service provision across the whole country.
Without a powerful central state, countries risk becoming highly unequal. A key reason for this is because public services will not be accessible to everyone and this reduces people’s abilities to gain an education, access healthcare, or run businesses or work effectively.
3. In Order To Collect Taxes
A third reason why a country needs a powerful government is to collect taxes.
Governments levy taxes on a wide range of economic activity, from people’s salaries to businesses profits. These taxes are then used to provide public services, fund the country’s military, and build infrastructure. A strong government is vital to collecting taxes and this is why a nation needs a powerful state.
Being able to collect taxes from the entire population is crucial to a nation’s success. All people need to be taxed fairly – this is not only key to building trust in the state but also to ensure people feel the government works for the whole country on fair terms. A strong government is needed to develop an effective tax collection system and to regularly collect revenue from the population.
For a government to collect revenue, it needs robust processes in-place, as well as legal frameworks and judicial systems that prevent people avoiding taxes. A strong state is vital to this. Being able to collect taxes effectively is also key to redistributing wealth – another factor vital to a nation’s success. This is another reason for a powerful government.
4. To Build Infrastructure
Another reason why a nation needs a powerful government is to build infrastructure across the country.
Infrastructure – roads, railways, airports, power networks and tele-communications, is proven to be key to a country’s economic growth. A country needs good infrastructure for people to move around, for businesses to get supplies and send products to market and for people to communicate effectively. A strong government is vital for a country to be able to build the infrastructure it needs.
Although some infrastructure can be built be the private sector, in almost all countries with good infrastructure the state has provided the majority of funding. This is because most infrastructure is not profit making, at least in the short-term. However, countries need infrastructure for businesses to be productive. Therefore, a strong government is needed to spend the money on developing infrastructure, which in turn helps economic development.
Generally, countries with strong states have good infrastructure. Weaker governments tend to be unable to collect the revenue and direct the resources needed to develop infrastructure. This holds these countries back.
5. To Create International Relations
International relations are key to a country being part of the global system. A strong government allows a nation to build alliances around the world.
No nation can be successful as an isolationist state in the modern globalised economy. All nations must trade, build links and work together with other countries in order to thrive. A powerful government is key to good international diplomacy. A country that has a strong government can negotiate with other countries and is seen as a legitimate power.
Countries that are able to govern their territory cohesively are also able to build better relationships with other nations. A weak government often leads to internal strife and division. This weakens a country’s international standing and risks other nations ignoring the central government and supporting separatist factions.
Having a strong government also allows a county to play a larger role in international institutions. Being active members of regional bodies such as the European Union, African Union, or ASEAN, as well as inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, allows a country to project its power. This is a further reason why a powerful government is good for a country.
6. To Ensure Internal Security
A strong government is needed to ensure a country’s internal security. This is another reason why it’s important.
All nations face internal threats. These can include from petty and organised crime, as well as armed groups, secessionists, and insurrections. A country needs a powerful government in order to deter and defeat internal threats as well as to ensure security for the population.
Security is vital for a country’s economic development. If a nation’s population does not feel secure, or are faced with insecurity, their ability to work, study, create businesses and be productive is reduced. Insecurity makes a country poorer.
A strong central government is a key way that a nation can ensure security. A well-funded and efficient police and judicial service helps to keep crime down. Security services such as intelligence and special weapons and tactics units help to fight organised gangs. In many places, a country’s military is vital to fighting armed groups. All of these elements need a powerful government to coordinate and resource.
7. To Reduce Inequality
Another reason why a country needs a strong government is to reduce inequality.
A country’s government has a range of measures it can use to reduce inequality. Effectively raising taxes allows a government to redistribute funds towards services for poorer citizens. It also allows a government to spend money on infrastructure and services in more impoverished areas of the country using taxes raised in more prosperous areas.
A nation needs a strong government in order to fight inequality. Without a powerful state, people with the means to become wealthy will be able to, but people living in circumstances that prevent them from reaching their full potential will struggle to make economic gains. Inequality is bad for a country as it increases crime and reduces overall economic performance. A powerful state is a proven way to reduce inequality across a country.
Inequality makes a country weaker. If unaddressed, it can lead to civil conflict and long-running social and political issues. Fighting inequality is one of the most important reasons a country needs a strong government.
8. So As To Create A Nation Identity
A final reason why a country needs a strong government is to create a sense of national identity.
For a nation to be successful, it needs to be cohesive. This means people of the country, even if from different religious, ethnic, or cultural groups, feel part of that country. A country’s population needs to feel invested in the nation state and that, generally, the county functions in a fair and united way.
A strong government is key to creating national unity. Through effective policies to redistribute wealth and ensure equitable provision of public services, a government is able to ensure a nation is brought together.
An effective government is able to ensure a narrative of the nation and its history is communicated to the populous. National events and ceremonies can be held, and education can be used to ensure the next generation feel part of the nation as a whole. Works such as these are vital for ensuring a cohesive national identity is created, and a strong government is required to employ these.