The state as a political institution
The central institution of the political system is the state . In his activity, the main content of politics is concentrated (Figure 12).
The concept of the state and its main features
The term state is usually used in two values.
Fig. 12. Concept, concepts of origin and attributes of the state
In a broad sense, the state is understood as a country, a society, a people located in a certain territory and represented by a higher authority. This is the meaning, for example, of United States, American, German, etc. states. Until the XVII century. The state was usually treated broadly and did not separate from society. A number of specific terms were used to refer to the state: "politia", "principality", "kingdom", "empire", "republic", "despotism", "rule" and others
Liberalism in contractual (contractual) theories of the state (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, etc.) has made the clearest distinction of the state, society and individuals. In them, these three concepts-the individual, the state and society-are historically divided and asserted that the individuals who existed in the free, semi-natural state, as a result of economic and other interaction, formed a society, and then, through a treaty, created a special body to protect their security and natural rights, state.
In narrow, proper meaning, the term "state" provides an organization that has supreme power in a certain territory. A deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the essence of the state makes it possible to identify its most important features.
1. The separation of public authority from society, its mismatch with the organization of the entire population, the appearance of a layer of professional managers.
2. Sovereignty, ie. supreme power in a certain territory. In any society there are many authorities, for example, party, industrial, family, etc. But the highest power, the decisions of which are binding for all citizens, organizations and institutions, is owned only by the state.
3. Territory delineating the boundaries of the state. The laws and powers of the state extend to people living in a certain territory. Unlike, for example, the tribal organization based on kinship ties, the state is built on the territorial principle.
4. Monopoly on the legal use of force, physical coercion. The range of state coercion extends from the restriction of freedom to the physical destruction of a person. The opportunity to deprive citizens of the highest values, such as life and freedom, determines the special effectiveness of state power. To fulfill the function of coercion, the state has special means - weapons and other resources of the authorities and bodies - the army, the police, the security service, the court and the prosecutor's office.
5. The exclusive right to publish laws and regulations binding on the entire population. This right is usually recognized by citizens only for the state.
6. The right to levy taxes and levies from the public. Taxes are necessary for the maintenance of numerous civil servants, as well as for the material support of public policy: economic, social, defense, etc.
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