Do Governments Have Needs?

Do GOVERNMENTS have needs? Do and institutions have needs?

Let’s start with an unusual and quite unfamiliar concept:“Governments don’t have needs.”

This statement sounds unusual because we don’t talk about institutions as having needs. However, most of us have grown up with the concept that governments do indeed have needs. After all, isn’t that what they do? They take actions, and make decisions in order to get their needs met? The answer, semantically speaking, is NO!


Governments are organizations. They are representations of a group of people with similar interests … and those people all share similar NEEDS.

Governments take actions and make decisions that get the needs met of the majority of their members or representatives (or so we hope).

What about Representative Governments?

In the case of “representative” governments (such as is in the US and other democratic countries), the members represent the needs of their constituents, and act accordingly. In the case of autocratic governments, the members (or member) seeks to get their own needs met, or to get the needs of a select few met.

Governments (and similar institutional bodies) are formed because the members have a need in common. They are by definition needs driven and needs defined. Therefore, it is certainly reasonable to look at the actions and decisions they take as meeting the needs of their members at worst, or their constituents at best.

Often however, [representative] government members lose sight of their mandates or for other reasons (selfish or non-caring) focus on getting their own personal needs met. Then, their actions reflect same. In the best cases though, their personal needs do indeed coincide with those of the ones they represent.

Isn’t this just “Semantics”?

This isn’t just a semantics argument … a discussion about the meaning of words. It’s more profound than this. By understanding the concept of government based decisions and needs, we can better appreciate the motives and reasons they take the actions that they do.

Yatsuchita Motors Corporations (a fictitious company), wants to establish their 1st US manufacturing plant. The underlying needs: the corporate owners want to increase their personal revenue, as well as the revenue of their stockholders. This will also indirectly increase their own standing or monetary gains. They lobby local congressmen to persuade zoning officials to rezone a certain parcel of land. The company can then build their vehicle manufacturing facility. The congressmen tell local public officials that the plant will provide jobs and tax revenue to a struggling community (the city officials see their needs getting met). The members of the community (especially the unemployed) see the opportunity for employment (they can meet the needs of their families). Everybody wins! Does anybody lose? That’s a good question.

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