What Role Does Law Play in Society?

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Law plays four primary roles in society, which are to protect people from harm, ensure a common good, settle arguments and disputes regarding finite resources and persuade people to do the right things. Law is useful for societies around the world, and helps to ensure a safe and secure life for citizens. Different levels of law govern the actions and dictate roles for citizens at all levels, from the local and municipal levels to the state level, national level and even internationally.

Regardless of the level at which they operate, laws help to promote the health, safety and welfare of citizens. The primary purpose of law in society is to protect citizens from evil, or from others who seek to harm them without a valid reason or purpose. Defense against evil is a function of law at all societal levels, but is most prominent at the international level. In addition to shielding people from evil, law exists to promote common benefits or welfare. Laws govern communal actions to persuade people to act in manners that benefit all, instead of pursuing only their own self-interests. Law also helps to settle disputes over scarce resources. Lastly, it helps to promote honesty and good behavior through the enactment of moral laws and ethics.