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Nation of DevilsDemocratic Leadership and the Problem of Obedience$
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Stein Ringen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300193190

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300193190.001.0001

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How to Be a Government

How to Be a Government

(p.59) 4 How to Be a Government
Nation of Devils

Stein Ringen

Yale University Press

Governments give orders. Governments do not do much, they tell others to do it. This chapter looks at what constitutes a government and how they actually function in reality. It argues that the problem of governance is one of obedience. Governments are up against those who are reluctant. The final challenge of good government is implementation, and the turning of power into performance depends on fairness and restraint. A settlement of order depends on institutions that bind governments and push followers into compliance and such institutions reside in culture as much as rules. The chapter asserts that power is not all that it has been cracked up to be, that governance is a people business, that managing the problem of obedience depends on authority and leadership, and that the most solid authority is that which rests on the magic of legitimacy.

Keywords:   governments, governance, culture, rules, authority, legitimacy

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