How do you think the government functions in the pokemon universe? I don’t think there’s ever been any reference to any higher powers in either the games or the anime.
Well, Ash and his friends do occasionally encounter local government, in the form of the mayors of a few of the towns they visit. The mayor of Trovitopolis, in the Orange Islands, is preoccupied with reelection when they meet him in The Mystery Menace, which implies that this particular city’s government is democratic, and in the absence of any further information I would assume that this is true across the board. To be honest, I think this is one case where, if they don’t tell us anything, it’s probably because they just assume it works the same way as it does in the real world.
But how did it get that way?
The thing about the Pokémon world is that who can own and train Pokémon is bound to dictate how society functions. If only a few people can be Pokémon trainers – if, say, only a few people have the time to train them for battle, the resources to feed them, the space to house them, and so on and so forth – then those people hold a lot of power, and are inevitably going to be in charge. If everyone can do all of those things, or at least everyone who wants to, then everyone has a say in how society is run (well… except the Pokémon, apparently, because despite their demonstrably human-level intelligence, no one seems to advocate for the idea of Pokémon in politics). So what is it that makes Pokémon training a pursuit anyone can engage in, and not just a matter for elites with time and resources to spare? Pokéballs. No one really talks about it, but I’m pretty sure that the invention of Pokéballs, and subsequently the invention of mass-produced Pokéballs, would have caused enormous changes in how the governments of the Pokémon world were structured – on par with the industrial revolution in our world, which basically created modern democracy by drastically increasing overall prosperity, giving the lower and middle classes the time to invest in politics, resources to spare, and reasons to take an interest. Before Pokéballs, the world would have looked vastly different – lots of Pokémon-training aristocracies that jealously guarded their techniques and training methods.