government

military government

Administration of territory by an occupying power. The definition does not cover military forces stationed in neutral or friendly territory that share administrative responsibilities with local civil authorities. Military government must also be distinguished from military law and martial law. Its control lasts until it either gives up power voluntarily or is overthrown. The term is popularly used for rule of a country by its own military, whether it comes to power through a coup d'état or is the legitimate governing body.

Learn more about military government with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or public debt

Total indebtedness of a government, especially as evidenced by securities issued to investors. The national debt grows whenever the government operates a budget deficit—that is, when government spending exceeds government revenues in a year. To finance its debt, the government can issue securities such as bonds or treasury bills. The level of national debt varies from country to country, from less than 10percnt of the gross domestic product (GDP) to more than double it. Public borrowing is thought to have an inflationary effect on the economy and thus is often used during recessions to stimulate consumption, investment, and employment. Seealso deficit financing; John Maynard Keynes.

Learn more about national debt with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Forecast of governmental expenditures and revenues for the ensuing fiscal year. In modern industrial economies, the budget is the key instrument for the execution of government economic policies. Because government budgets may promote or retard economic growth in certain areas of the economy and because views about priorities in government spending differ widely, government budgets are the focus of competing political interests. In the U.S. the federal budget is prepared by the president's Office of Management and Budget. The U.S. Congress has considerable input, influencing the budget's preparation through negotiations with the president and considering it in detail on its official submission to Congress.

Learn more about government budget with a free trial on Britannica.com.

In government, the practice of spending more money than is received as revenue, the difference being made up by borrowing or minting new funds. The term usually refers to a conscious attempt to stimulate the economy by lowering tax rates or increasing government expenditures. Critics of deficit financing regularly denounce it as an example of shortsighted government policy. Advocates argue that it can be used successfully in response to a recession or depression, proposing that the ideal of an annually balanced budget should give way to that of a budget balanced over the span of a business cycle. Seealso John Maynard Keynes; national debt.

Learn more about deficit financing with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Political system by which a body of people is administered and regulated. Different levels of government typically have different responsibilities. The level closest to those governed is local government. Regional governments comprise a grouping of individual communities. National governments nominally control all the territory within internationally recognized borders and have responsibilities not shared by their subnational counterparts. Most governments exercise executive, legislative (see legislature), and judicial (see judiciary) powers and split or combine them in various ways. Some also control the religious affairs of their people; others avoid any involvement with religion. Political forms at the national level determine the powers exercised at the subnational levels; these have included autocracy, democracy, fascism, monarchy, oligarchy, plutocracy (government by the wealthy), theocracy, and totalitarianism.

Learn more about government with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Search another word or see governmenton Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature