One approach is to define government as the decision-making arm of the state, and define the latter on the basis of the control it has over violence and the use of force within its territory. Government can also be defined as the political means of creating and enforcing laws; typically via a bureaucratic hierarchy. Under this definition, a purely despotic organization which controls a territory without defining laws would not be considered a government.
Another alternative is to define a government as an organisation that attempts to maintain control of a territory, where "control" involves activities such as collecting taxes, controlling entry and exit to the state, preventing encroachment of territory by neighbouring states and preventing the establishment of alternative governments within the country.
According to the international relations theory of realism all governments operate within an anarchic framework.
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