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11.Government and Society
· What governments can do
- Governments provide public services like healthcare and education.
- They support people who are living in poverty or unable to work.
- Governments raise money by taxing working people.
- They can spend money on resources and campaigns.
- They can introduce new laws.
- They can impose taxes.
- They can raise people’s awareness of issues (e.g. climate change/healthy eating).
- They can influence people’s habits and opinions.
- They can create jobs.
- They can regulate the activities of companies such as banks.
- They can provide resources for schools.
- They are also responsible for the security and well-being of their citizens.
- They control armed forces and police forces.
- Governments pay the salaries of public sector workers like police officers and teachers.
- The necessary money is raised by taxing people’s income.
- Free education and healthcare may be provided by the state.
- Some governments control public transport systems and even TV channels.
- In other countries, these services are provided by private companies.
- Some people believe that competition between private companies is good.
- It helps to improve quality while bringing prices down.
- Other people think that essential services should be free.
- Governments should pay for them.
- Governments can censor what the public sees or reads in the media.
- To a certain extent censorship is necessary.
- We should use censorship to protect children from violent images.
- Some computer games involve killing people or committing crimes.
- The Internet also needs to be controlled.
- Many websites show pornography and violence.
- There should be age limits for websites and computer games.
- Parents need to take responsibility for checking what their children watch.
- It is impossible for governments to control everything we see.
Video Cameras in Public Places
- The use of CCTV is becoming widespread.
- Video cameras have been installed in many public places.
- They are supposed to protect us and deter criminals.
- Many people think that this surveillance violates our privacy.
- The authorities could build databases with our pictures and identities.
- We should not be treated like criminals.
Smart Cards: Positives
- Governments will probably introduce a digital identification card system.
- Smart cards will have benefits and drawbacks.
- They could help to reduce crime.
- They could hold personal information, such as DNA.
- Digital bank cards could contain fingerprint information.
- It would be very difficult for criminals to use a stolen card.
- It would be easier for police to identify people and catch criminals.
Smart Cards: Negatives
- Many people are worried about losing their privacy.
- Governments could store all our personal and medical information.
- This information could be used by insurance companies.
- Employers could check our health records.
People with Disabilities
- People with disabilities should be treated the same as everybody else.
- They should have the same rights as other people.
- They should have access to the same jobs as other citizens.
- Discrimination against disabled people is illegal in many countries.
- Ramps and lifts for wheelchairs should be installed in public buildings.
- Support teachers can be employed to help children with learning difficulties.
12.Guns and Weapons
Why guns should be legal:
- In some countries, people are allowed to own firearms.
- Individuals have the right to protect themselves.
- People can use guns in self defence.
- This deters criminals.
Why gun ownership should be illegal:
- There is a risk of accidents with guns.
- The number of violent crimes increases when guns are available.
- Criminals may be armed.
- The police then need to use guns.
- Suicide rates have been shown to rise when guns are available.
- Guns create violent societies with high murder rates.
Why police should use guns:
- Many criminals use weapons.
- The threat of a gun can deter criminals.
- Police officers can force a criminal to surrender.
- It is easier to arrest someone and avoid physical violence.
- There is a danger of nuclear weapons being obtained by terrorists.
- Nuclear weapons cannot be used against terrorist organisations.
Armed Forces: Positives
- Armed forces provide security and protection.
- They deter military attack by another country.
- They can also be used to maintain peace within countries.
- They can be used to give the police extra support.
- Soldiers are also used to help in emergency situations, such as after a natural disaster.
Armed Forces: Negatives
- Armies require a lot of funding from governments.
- Too much money is spent on weapons and military technology.
- This money could be spent on schools, hospitals and other public services.
- The human body requires a balanced diet.
- An unhealthy diet can cause various health problems.
- Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are on the increase.
- Many people nowadays rely on fast food or pre-prepared meals.
- These foods often contain too much fat, salt and sugar.
- They are cheap to buy and very easy to prepare.
- Many young people have grown up on a diet of convenience foods.
- Populations in developed countries are increasingly overweight.
- Regular exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy body.
- Exercise burns calories and helps to build healthy bones and muscles.
- Doctors advise exercising at least three times a week for 20 minutes.
- Most people nowadays lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- We tend to walk less and do desk jobs.
- Most adults relax by watching television.
- Children play video games rather than doing outdoor sports.
- In the past, people were more active in their jobs and at home.
- Governments have a significant role to play in reducing obesity.
- More and more people, including young children, are seriously overweight.
- They are at risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- This situation will increase the burden on hospitals and taxpayers.
- Hospitals rely on the government for money and resources.
- Governments should promote a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- There should be more time for sport on school timetables.
- Unhealthy junk food should be banned from school menus.
- People need information about what foods contain.
- Food packaging must show the food’s nutritional content.
- The British Government recommends eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
State Health Systems: Advantages
- Good healthcare should be available to everyone for free.
- State healthcare is paid by the government using money from taxes.
- Everyone has access to the same quality of care and treatment.
- Private healthcare is unfair because only wealthy people can afford it.
- The National Health Service in the UK provides free healthcare for every resident.
Private Healthcare: Advantages
- State hospitals are often very large and difficult to run.
- Private hospitals have shorter waiting lists for operations and appointments.
- Patients can benefit from faster treatment.
- · Many people prefer to pay for a more personal service.
- Patients have their own room and more comfortable facilities.
Alternative Medicine: Positives
- People are increasingly using alternative medicines to treat illnesses.
- For example, acupuncture can be used to treat backache.
- Herbal medicines can be used to treat allergies or viruses.
- Many patients report positive experiences with these treatments.
- Some traditional cures have been used for hundreds of years.
Alternative Medicine: Negatives
- Many alternative medicines have not been tested scientifically.
- They may have no beneficial effects at all.
- They may cause unknown side effects.
- People should trust the opinions of qualified doctors.
- An illness could get worse without treatment from a doctor.
- Modern lifestyles are increasingly stressful.
- People work long hours with strict deadlines.
- Our busy lifestyles mean we have less time to relax.
- Unemployment is a major cause of stress.
- Children may be affected by their parents’ relationship problems.
- Tests and exams can also cause stress.
How to Reduce Stress
- Stress can be reduced by taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.
- It is also important to get sufficient sleep and make leisure time a priority.
- People should work less overtime and take regular holidays.
- Schools have started to employ psychologists.
- They can offer emotional support to students.
- · They can help students to cope with exam stress.
14.Housing and Architecture
State / Council Housing
- In some countries the government provides state or council housing.
- This helps people who cannot afford to buy their own house.
- It can be argued that state housing creates dependence on the government.
- People should not rely on the government to look after them.
- People have no incentive to earn money and buy their own home.
- Council properties are often made with cheap, poor-quality materials.
- Historic buildings are part of a country’s heritage.
- They should be protected.
- Old buildings are often considered to be works of art.
- They give character to cities and attract tourists.
- They show us how people lived in the past.
- We identify countries by architectural symbols like the pyramids in Egypt.
- Governments should spend money on looking after historic buildings.
- They need regular repairs and maintenance.
- New buildings should be designed to complement them.
Modern / Green Buildings
- Modern buildings should be designed to be environmentally friendly.
- They should use less energy and produce less waste.
- Modern insulation can make houses more energy-efficient.
- Solar and wind power can be used to generate electricity.
- Rainwater and waste water can be recycled and used to flush toilets.
- · Modern glass buildings take advantage of natural light.
English as an International Language
- English is widely used around the world.
- It is becoming a global second language.
- It is the dominant language of technology, science and international business.
- International business meetings are regularly held in English.
- The most important textbooks and journals are published in English.
- The ability to speak English is a necessary skill in the modern world.
Negatives of English as an International Language
- If one language is dominant, other languages may disappear.
- The dominant language brings its own culture.
- American culture has become popular around the world.
- Other cultures may be damaged.
- As an alternative to English, a new global language could be invented.
- It would have no nationality or culture attached to it.
- This could help to promote international peace and understanding.
- Esperanto is an example of a language that was invented with this aim.