April 25, 2019

Government vs. Governance

There is a place for efficiency in the government, and it does not solely depend on the leaders that facilitates the government processes, but it depends on every person governed. Governance is not provided not just by a certain group of officials because as society evolves, more actors and groups are now directly involved in the process of governance which are grouped into three legs, the government, the market, and the civic societies. (Carino, 2004) For a democracy to work as it is intended, power should not be confined in just a single person or a single group of people that are often the elites. Power should be distributed to every person in the society and it is up to the citizens to claim and practice that power for themselves.

Governance is a term not used to relate to government processes only in the past few decades. We equate both terms, government and governance through basic definitions that we can find. From the root word govern, which simply denotes power and control over a system or territory. But Carino differentiated them by pointing that the government is all about control, while governance is all about management. Through this, one can easily say that governance is better than government, but we must also know that government is a vital part of governance. Aside from the role of the government, there are two other actors that work with it for effective governance, markets and civil societies. The market or the private sector generates wealth for dispersal and a barrack of human resource and talent. Businesses that both supply goods and services to consumers and wages to human resources that they employ. Civil society on the other hand represents the public and raise voices of those who have none or don’t know how to use theirs. Together, these three must work together and use their abilities to cooperate which will then provide success not just to the system itself but to society at large.

Soup to Nuts (Center for Civic Education, 1977) is a very good cartoon that illustrates the advantage and disadvantage of having a government and the type of governance that a government employ. It shows that even if the market and civil society is independent from the government, they can still be affected by the kind of government it works at. In the filmstrip, the people on the city decided to hire a new despot that will oversee governing the city because the last government was elected by the people with a promise to be “out of people’s way” and gave all the control to the people themselves. It was chaos. This part of the filmstrip showed the importance of government not just in the distribution of resources, but also for maintaining order within the society. The people then decided to hire a new despot which made a huge turnaround for the better in the beginning but when the power shifted to just one person, too much control of not just the government but even control of the market through monopoly and control of society by imposing inhumane rules. This is also a good presentation that the government cannot just command or regulate its citizens, it can also mark them as adversaries to prevent alleged abuse(Weil, 2015).

“Membership in participation, but not participation for participation’s sake” simply denotes that for one to claim and exercise power as a citizen in democracy, one should not just abide by the law and follow and leave it as it is. Besides, the power of the citizen doesn’t just start and end every election day where we chose our leaders, it should live with us every single day. From as simple as being aware of the news to organizing thoughts and collectively sharing those ideas to several people, one can really make a difference through many.

Que, S. (2019). Government vs. Governance In the end we can see that whether we have different branches of governance, everything must work together to compliment and coordinate the other, and who should oversee it? The people, society. By actively participating in the governance of the state. By having a voice and letting it resonate. On Eric Liu’s Ted talk, he presented the six sources of power, most important of these in a democracy is the last source, Numbers (Liu, 2014). Through numbers, power can be shared from person to person and collectively, we can make our small voices enough to make difference.


Carino, L. V. (2004). "The Concept of Governance". In From Government to Governance.
Center for Civic Education. (1977). Soup to Nuts. Retrieved from http://www.civiced.org/e-news/?p=1834#more-1834
Liu, E. (2014, November). Eric Liu: How to understand power. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/eric_liu_how_to_understand_power
Weil, F. (2015, March 21). Government vs. Governance. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://bit.ly/2CEgnJO

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