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When people hear the word agency they often think of government agencies. After thinking about these types of agencies for about a second and a half, people on the right side of the political spectrum (right as in right versus left, not necessarily right as in a synonym for correct) will curse how high their taxes are, while people on the left will curse how inadequate these agencies are in providing help to the downtrodden.

Same agencies. Same work being done. Different perspectives. And that’s how fights get started.

Of course, agencies don’t have to be government agencies. They can be private organizations established with the purpose of doing work on behalf of others. In fact, a organization that does work on behalf of others is the definition of this sense of the word agency.

For example, advertising agencies create, on behalf of their clients, ads that often annoy the hell out of us. If it weren’t for ad agencies, companies would have to figure out how to annoy the hell out of us all on their own. Surprisingly, they typically need help with doing that, except possibly when it comes to their customer service departments.

Agency can also refer to the power through which something happens. For example, one might say that televangelists can get fabulously wealthy by the agency of the lunacy of their followers.

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