Types of political structure

Political structures are a settlement between the few who have power and the very large numbers who do not, on what that power can be used to do. The existence of political structures is universal in nature - even a pack of wild dogs shows a political structure. But the nature of that structure – who gets chosen as the leader, the tools they use to get power, how they are kept accountable to the people, the mechanisms they use to govern - is very far from universal, we can be sure it that is based on a set of memes.

I want to start (after a short detour to ancient Sumer) by looking at autocracies, single-party states and the principal types of democracy to see whether we can attribute their origin and operation to our old friends, the memes.

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A democracy of memes

Most of us live in democracies of one sort or another, and when they work well they can be pleasant places to live. Of course, democracies are a seething mass of competing memes, and we can see in them a lot of the concepts that we see in structures such as religions and businesses: they have holy books, evangelists and heresy... they just don't call them by those terms.

So let's look at consitutions and the nature of political leadership, shall we?

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Consensual Economics

As this site is about the practical uses of memetics, many of its readers are from the business community. I therefore want to talk about the sea of financial memes that our businesses swim in.

We are all aware of the concept of an economy, a set of activities related to the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services. The idea of an economy is pretty much universal – it is certainly as old as farming and we know that as soon as we were able to produce a surplus, we and looked around for something useful to do with it - but the nature of the economy and the rules that govern it are, once again, just a set of inherited values carried by memes.

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Legal systems

The freedoms of citizens are determined by our legal systems, which act as an arbiter of last resort on what is acceptable behaviour. The laws themselves are nothing more than evolved memes and it is important to understand that, just like political systems, there is no inherent ‘truth’ in these legal systems. They are just a illusion that we have all agreed to participate in so that minor disputes might be resolved without recourse to weapons.

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