How many people work for the government?

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  1. Mark Knowles profile image59
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago

    Does anyone know how many people are employed by the government?

    Or where I can find this information? I have looked and looked but been unable to tie it down to a specific figure. It doesn't even matter which government. I want to write an article about the un-sustainability of our current economic system. I would prefer the US, UK or any western European govs, but any will do.

    Once you factor in the military, car companies, insurance companies, banks and other entities that are unable to function without governmental assistance, I wonder what percentage of the working population is employed directly, or indirectly by the gov Inc?

    Any links to impartial info would be welcome.


    1. profile image0
      sandra rinckposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Well that is an article I look forward to reading but I would say everyone works for the government.

      100% of the working population and via traditional job or not is indirectly and directly working for the government.

      Government Tax Global Enterprises

      I can't think of anyway a person can get around paying a tax, making people, even people who don't pay taxes are tax payers with every purchase.

      Hopes for a better future... priceless.  For everything else there is MasterCard. big_smile

      1. Mark Knowles profile image59
        Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this


        Well, I will edit my post to say "Is employed by the government." lol

    2. VENUGOPAL SIVAGNA profile image60
      VENUGOPAL SIVAGNAposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      In India, it the Ministry of Human Resources which is expected to have the figures. But I think they will not furnish the figures.

  2. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 14 years ago
    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this


  3. countrywomen profile image60
    countrywomenposted 14 years ago

    India isn't a developed western country but still if you care for some statistics then here it is. In India once every 10 years there is a census i.e., this one is dated 2001 and the next one would be in 2011.

    PS: This list is only of central government employees and every state has separate state govt employees too(and that would be too much of a home work). smile

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks - any information is useful. I am trying to determine at what point it becomes unworkable.

  4. livewithrichard profile image74
    livewithrichardposted 14 years ago

    Here are some statistics for the US government:

    You should find a numer of federal employees less those that work for the US postal service. 

    Also this will not take into account how many people work for the state and local governments... for that you will have to check each State website... There's a lot of research to be done but I'd read it when you finish... good luck.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks. I guess I was hoping for a comprehensive list, but I can see I have a lot of work ahead lol

  5. countrywomen profile image60
    countrywomenposted 14 years ago

    Yes, Mark you do have a lot of home work to do. In fact in India it takes 2 years(with a big team) to compile all that information before publishing. You certainly have taken up a very tough task to accomplish. Good luck. smile

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Well, this information has already been collected. I suspect the powers that be are not too keen on having a comprehensive list made. big_smile

      1. countrywomen profile image60
        countrywomenposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        I don't know what to say. Here in US the debate is usually centered on the lines of supporters of Big Business (Rep) Vs Big Government (Dem). And since they have no effective third party all the arguments are usually split in these lines.  But now perspectives like yours or Misha seems to be anything "Big"/powerful isn't conducive for us(masses). I have a question for you about what should be the ideal form of administration? Do you think democracy is the best form of administration (with its executive, judiciary and legislative arms)? smile

        1. Mark Knowles profile image59
          Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          The United states in not a democracy. It is a republic. In the UK we have a parliamentary democracy.

          They both end up the same though. A very small number of people make the decisions for all and it would appear almost impossible to find representatives who are not for sale to the highest bidder.

          I personally think we have waaaaaay too many people working for the government in both countries and it is only a matter of time before the system collapses under it's own inefficiency. In Europe also.

          What we need is less government not more.

        2. Misha profile image62
          Mishaposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          No, I actually think it is the worst form of government. smile

  6. Pete Maida profile image59
    Pete Maidaposted 14 years ago

    I can't tell you how many but here in the Washington, DC area the federal government is by far the largest employer even if you don't count the huge number of people working as contractors and lobbists.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Well, the federal government is the largest employer in the country. But it looks as though I will need to sift through each individual state to find how many are employed at the local level. Plus the postal workers. Plus the military. Plus the insurance companies and banks. Plus the military contractors. Plus the construction contractors. Plus the car makers.

      Once I have added them all up, I will let you know. lol

  7. countrywomen profile image60
    countrywomenposted 14 years ago

    Mark- At the top there will always be lesser number of people who tend to take crucial decisions and at the middle/bottom more number of people to implement them. I guess corruption/nepotism should be checked by adequate checks and balances. Recently in UK the parliamentary privileges of members wealth was hotly debated(in BBC America I saw this). I guess the supremacy of parliament is being challenged. So how much or make it how little should the government be? And what about the military? I am all for a lesser military expenditure but are there any guarantees that China wouldn't attack other countries. Can we have a unified world policy in this regard. Btw thanks for answering. smile

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I cannot say exactly what the percentage proportion should be. Clearly we have too many at the moment. The problem is once a government has decided to interfere in a matter, it is almost impossible to get them out of that matter. Too often, a "temporary measure," turns into a permanent situation. Even with the best intentions of the people deciding to get involved, getting them to relinquish that power later is all but impossible. 

      What we need to do is look at all those areas where we have government involvement and decide whether that is appropriate or not.

      What business does the government having running an insurance company for instance? AIG as an example. None.

      Or GM? None.

      We also need to look at all these companies that are "Too Big To Fail," and introduce laws to prevent anyone becoming Too Big To Fail.

      What we have at the moment is all the slightly healthy financial institutions gobbling up all the smaller ones. Becoming even bigger.

  8. countrywomen profile image60
    countrywomenposted 14 years ago

    Mark- I agree "too big to fail" doesn't make sense to me either. If free market economy dictates some companies to fail so be it. The laws should be the same no matter to which companies they are being applied. If at the end of his term President Obama doesn't see perceivable progress then we might have to rethink (but by then too late all the money would have already been lost). sad

    Misha- What is the best form of government which is practical too to implement?

  9. Misha profile image62
    Mishaposted 14 years ago

    Not that I know the answer CW-girl, probably constitutional monarchy would be the lesser evil - providing we cannot have anarchy, which would have been an ideal, I am afraid unreachable...

    1. countrywomen profile image60
      countrywomenposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      There are very few countries having monarchy. Beginning with UK which has a nominal monarchy, Nepal had till recently, Saudi Arabia is another monarchy and maybe a few other countries in Gulf. Out of some of these countries which one has a better model to govern? I am open to understanding and learning further hence asking. Have a good weekend. smile

  10. accofranco profile image80
    accofrancoposted 14 years ago

    This looks like a die hard task,trust Mark Knowles on this, good luck! No need giving you link to Nigeria,they aren't developed either and aren't on your list.


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