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There are two different ways to answer your question. One is as if governments never existed, the other is as if all forms of government suddenly disappeared.

The place to start is before there was ever established governments. In ancient time when there were only scattered extended family groups and tribes, humans have always had a form of government in the respect that each family group, extended family, or tribe has someone who takes leadership. Our own family has leadership, even a family with only two or three people needs someone who is responsible for the group and sets the rules for the group. This how people function today in the few places that isolated tribes are still able to live. If formal governments had never been established, the system would still be similar, the 'tribal groups' would be larger and there would be hundreds of thousands of them. In order to live in proximity to one another, inter tribal agreements would be necessary. That is an informal government and is still practiced in a few areas of the world.

In the case of governments suddenly disappearing or governments overthrown, there a lot of chaos, civil unrest and guerrilla warfare because there are always people who want to be in charge, people who will do whatever it takes to establish their own authority. There are far too many examples of this to draw from in modern history and it usually takes several years to several decades for a place to establish a stable society, a reliable and safe place to live.

Governments do serve a function. They provide many of the things that we need, that we depend on, and that large groups of people can't do independently. We may hate some of the things that governments do or how they do it, but we also depend on what they get right; the most important is securing health and safety for large numbers of people. Imagine no one to turn to if you are attacked on the street or wondering if you can trust that the juice you are about to drink isn't contaminated. Without governments, very few places would have sidewalks, or tap water, or reliable medical care, or reliable transportation, or even electricity delivered to our homes. We may not always like the government we have but it would an extremely difficult world full of danger without them.

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Q: What would happen if there was no government?
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