Government, system of control and regulation of social activities by the state, also referring to the agency that exercises such control. Governments have the power of coercion to enforce law. They define crimes and administer punishment. To defend its existence and the integrity of its territory against both internal and external enemies, most governments maintain armed forces. In modern industrialized countries the economic and social functions of governments include providing public services (such as building roads, and supplying water and sanitation facilities), and supervising education. The issuance of currency is a government monopoly. In recent times, governments have become involved in the direct management of the economy, regulating commerce, labor relations, and international trade and credit. Governments have also undertaken responsibility for social security, unemployment insurance, old age pensions, and aid to dependent children.