Chapter Summary

Although government seems to be everywhere, we seldom think about why governments began and why they continue to exist. Logic suggests that, initially, government emerged from collective action aimed at providing security. We can learn more about the continued existence of government by understanding human beings’ aversion to anarchy and their tendency toward hierarchy. Additionally, the concept of power and the dynamics of group behavior explain why governments persist.

Students should learn two very important lessons from this chapter. First, the phenomena discussed here suggest that governments satisfy fundamental human desires. Second, as annoying as your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles can be, it is unlikely that it or any other form of government is going anywhere soon.