Understanding Government Systems in Generic Terms
A government is a circular system of money, services, and things (products, goods, stuff) and how these elements (money, services, things) are distributed to those within that system.
B. Types of Government Systems
A government does not produce its own revenue and must obtain that money from outside sources, such as taxes. There are two types of government systems based on how money and services are distributed to the masses: Shared System and Controlled System.
1) Controlled System
A majority of countries follow/followed a Controlled System where their taxes were funneled up to the top of the hierarchy’s treasuries and those at the top determined how those taxes were used. The control was often passed down along family lines ensuring that power was retained in those family lines.
2) Shared Systems
In a Shared System society, everyone in the society contributes into the whole of the system equally and those contributions are distributed amongst the people. A Shared System can quickly be turned into a slave society if anyone tries to manipulate it into personal gain. Therefore, for a shared society to be successful, it must have measures in place to prevent manipulation by any single person. One method includes close monitoring of the people inside that society. The other method is to ban anyone who does not follow the rules.
C: The Style of Leaders
The style of the Rulers/Leaders will affect the two systems negatively or positively. Below are a few examples based on types of leadership styles.
1. (negative) Aristocracy, Money Hoarding, Slavery
In the Controlled System, rulers who used the taxes for their own personal opulence and lavish lifestyles and ignored the mass population made for an oppressed society. Intimidation was used to ensure that power of the mass was not utilized against the few in power. An intimidated society is a suppressed society. Threats of death kept citizens or people in the society from trying to do anything to change their fate.
2. (positive) Stewardship
In the Controlled System, a ruler who saw to the needs of the people first before the needs of his own person made for a good steward of the goods and services that the people contributed to. The Native American communities (pre-colonists and today) serve as a good example of this.
3. (negative) Authoritarian
Because a Shared System requires strict monitoring to prevent vulnerability, it opens up a greater temptation for those doing the monitoring to impose the restrictive rule. It also poses great temptation to turn this system into a way to demand fealty (even god-like worshiping) of the masses to those at the top. (Something also found in Controlled Systems).
It is not the systems that create the positive or negative, it is those who are in charge of the system. What is demanded at the top ends up affecting the results of the system? Which is why you can’t just look at a government system without looking at its leadership style. What are the leaders like and how do they rule?
E. Exception – Representative System of America
When you look at the two systems, you may ask, “Where does America fit into this?” because it does not fit into the controlled system or the shared system. The answer is neither. America is unique.
America is a Representative System. The people who pay the taxes elect representatives to be their voices at the seat of control, with someone at the top to ensure good stewardship of all the parts involved. At least, this is the intention of the design. We have never reached the potential of this system. We have never reached an equality viewpoint of Americans. We still assume that worth is based on a physical appearance or lifestyle. We still give money power over people.
Today, America risks becoming a Controlled System and destroying the Representative System altogether. The more we hand power to those who control the wealth, the greater we risk losing our say into how that money is used.
Interactive: For you think about . . .
Can you identify other leadership styles that fit within these two systems? Are they positive or negative for the people governed under that system? Why or why not?