Chapter Summary

To understand the reasons governments do what they do, it is critical to appreciate the role of leadership interests. This perspective also provides a foundation for exploring how leaders and governments maintain control of those they govern. Whenever we seek to understand the complexities of politics, it always pays to begin by asking, “Who benefits?” and “How?” These questions apply regardless of the type of government under scrutiny. You may have no problem accepting this point when considering other countries, but it is equally appropriate to ask these questions of your own country. Even those who believe that governments seek to promote the social welfare must come to terms with this reality. It is also essential to appreciate the role that group conflict can play for groups (including governments) and their leaders.

Students should learn two very important lessons from this chapter. First, people want to become leaders because holding the leadership position or being part of the elite group that controls the leadership position provides tremendous individual benefits. Second, while you should plan plenty of family time with children, it is a good idea to keep your progeny away from pressure cookers.