What is a Timocracy?

Monarchy, democracy, communism, socialism–you’ve heard of the most popular forms of government, but you certainly don’t know them all. There are a number of kinds of government that are primarily theoretical. Some haven’t happened yet, and perhaps many never will. Some theoretical governments are controlled by those who develop that civilization’s technology. Others are controlled by the scientists and researchers who govern which technology might someday be built. A timocracy is built only by those people who own land and wealth, and those who rule usually do so because of ambition or honor.

This form of government was an idea conceived of by the Athenian ruler Solon in the 6th century BC. He built a timocracy, and allowed rulers into his timocracy according to a hierarchy with four tiers inside of the civilization’s population. If you were a manual laborer, for example, you were considered a member of the “thetes” tier of the timocracy. The thetes were the lowest rung of the ladder, and so they couldn’t get close to elected office. However, being a member of the poorest class had at least one benefit that most Americans would love–the thetes never paid any taxes.

The next tier on the ladder was known as the zeugitae. These were tillers of the land. Their class was defined in a few different ways, all of which were applicable. To be considered a member of this tier, you needed to be the proud owner of at least a pair of pack animals. You needed to produce at least two hundred bushels of produce annually (this was the primary requirement). Although you had to pay taxes, you could expect to hold minor offices that no one on the higher tiers would ever want. You could also afford armor, and so zeugitae could serve in the army as hoplites.

If you produced just a hundred more barrels a year–three hundred, to be exact–you were a member of the knight class, or hippeis. You could afford weapons and armor and cavalry because of the extra money. Members of this tier could expect to command a great deal of respect, and again you could hold offices slightly higher up the ladder.

The highest tier of Solon’s timocracy was–get ready for this–a pentacosiomedimni. Go ahead and try to say that five times fast. Members of the pentacosiomedimni produced five hundred bushels of goods annually are were granted the means to hold the rank of general. Because you reached such a high level of prosperity in ancient Athenian society, you could make an attempt to insert yourself into extremely high positions within the government. They included the ecclesia, the Council of 400, the Council of Areopagus, and nine archons and treasurers.

Even though democracy doesn’t expressly suggest a tier system regarding the amount of property or wealth you have in exchange for government qualifications, your chances of obtaining office obviously increase substantially if you have both.

What Is the Ideology of Communism?

The definition of communism is that it is a political philosophy that bases itself on community ownership with no class system. It is the opposite of capitalism where the working class or proletariat is run by the wealthy class or the bourgeoisie.

The ideology is based on an idea of equality. But in actuality when put into practice in government, it has lead to authoritarian rule, which caused many millions of deaths and human rights violations. The schools of thought pertaining to communism include Marxism, anarchism, and branches of these philosophies which all share the basic tenant that when societal order is based on capitalism there are always going to be revolutions.

This is thought to be because the working class and the wealthy class are always in strife. The working class has to work just to survive and the wealthy class develops wealth from the hard work of the proletariat. The wealthy class is a minority and, as such, is the object of the working class’s inability to rise above their position in life and gain profit from the very work they do. The thought of communism is based also on there being a social ownership of businesses and agriculture.

There are criticisms of communism that can be divided into two categories. One is concerned with observing it from things that have occurred in the 20th century in real communist countries. The other is concerned more with the principles that make up the ideology theoretically.

As for criticisms, there are fundamental problems that threaten the practicality of a truly communist society. If there is no price system in a communist society, which there is not, there is no way to determine what products or services should be produced or how much of each should be produced.

The result of this problem is that in real communist countries there are endless surpluses and shortages. It is often the shortages that cause people to lose their lives for no good reason as the ones who die are the ones in the working class.

The theory or ideology of communism is thought to be a political failure. This is based on how communist countries like Russia most certainly failed as far as the application of the principles went. When the Berlin Wall fell in the early 1990s, it was clear that the experiment was a failure. There are still place like China, however, that have thriving economies despite being a communist country.

What Exactly Is Authoritarianism?

Many people have heard of authoritarianism before, but they may not know exactly what it means. This is a word that is typically attributed to people that are in power and the way that they rule or govern their country. Authoritarianism actually refers to a form of government that provides very limited political freedoms and has a strong central figure, or group of people, that rule without constitutional accountability. Let’s go over the basics of authoritarianism, as well as the pros and cons of this particular form of government.

The Four Attributes Of Authoritarianism

There are four specific components of authoritarianism. First, it is a system of government where political pluralism is not the main focus. If there are any dissenting political parties, groups, or figures in the government that are not on board with the opinion of the ruler, they are often removed in some fashion. Second, an authoritarian ruler governs his country based solidly on emotion. There is always some type of evil to combat, and this ruler will repeat ad nausea who this enemy is in order to keep the people focused. Third, there is often a movement to quiet anti-regime activity or political opponents that do not agree with the authoritarian ruler. Finally, these rulers have executive power, much like a dictator, and their way of governing is often shifting from one viewpoint to the next, often appearing more vague than definitive.

Authoritarianism And Democracy

Although democracy is not the opposite of authoritarianism, there are few comparisons. There are leaders within a democracy that can use authoritarian principles. This is the opposite of authoritative principles which is more geared toward a democratic regime which relies upon the opinions and activities of others. An authoritarian is simply a person that knows that they are in charge, and once everyone to concur with what they want to have done.

This is a system of governing that is often seen in countries where the rulers tend to be dictatorial. It has no place in a democratic society, although many will try to state that they are not authoritarian at all. It is always better to have a leader that is willing to work with those in their government, as well as with the people. It is an outdated system for governing countries, and as democracy continues to become popular and accepted, perhaps authoritarian behavior will become a thing of the past.

Just What Is Totalitarianism

There are many different types of governments out there, and with politics in the United States becoming more and more divided there seem to be many political terms thrown out there without people having a truly good grasp of what they all actually mean. One term that is getting tossed around by both the right and the left is totalitarianism, and while this type of government is certainly a reality in many parts of the world even during the worst of times in the United States we are long ways off from becoming a totalitarian state.

Totalitarianism refers to a form of government where there is one person with 100% of the authority who is unquestionably in charge. He rules the state, the government, and any authority that anyone else has comes from his decree or being in service of him. These are governments that tend to have extremely tight control over the press, the arts, and even everyday life of the people who live there. This type of force almost certainly stems from a military background, and having the full support of the military is crucial for these governments to work since brute force (or the threat of it) is the primary method to keep everyone in line.

These types of governments are often referred to as dictatorships. There may or may not be local governments or a house and senate type setup for show, but in the end all rules and decrees come directly from the person in charge who can’t be overruled in any circumstance.

Totalitarian Versus Authoritarian
While these two types of government are relatively similar to one another (similar to how democracy and republic are related forms of government) there are a few distinct differences. Authoritarian regimes a small group hold power or even one person, but their only focus is holding that power at a government level. On a totalitarian level, the leader attempts to control everything and even create a “cult like” state where every part of everyday life is affected.

Nazism is one form of this since it wasn’t just about government and military rule with Hitler undisputed as the man in charge, but there was an ideology, ethnic cleansing, and an entirely new moral code imposed upon Germans and immigrants who lived there in that era. North Korea is a modern day example where it’s not just power at the top, but every single part of everyday life is controlled by the state.

Do You Wonder What Monarchy Is?

The term ‘monarchy‘ is possibly something you come across from time to time. However, do you know what a monarchy actually is? You might be curious about this when you come across the term. That can happen if you pay attention to international news, as many countries around the world are monarchies. You might also be exposed to the term in a historical context through a class, movie, or novel. It also comes up in a lot of video game settings as well.

A ‘monarchy’ is a noun. It’s a form of government where there is a monarch at the head. A state with a monarch might also have a royal family or dynasty with many different monarchs in succession coming from the same bloodline.

This form of government is one where the royal family or dynasty actually embodies the very national identity of the country in question. The specific monarch in charge practices a role of sovereignty over the government and citizens. However, the degree of practical power does vary quite a bit. Some nations are called crowned republics, where the monarch is purely a symbol. Other countries, called constitutional monarchies, are governed by a constitutional document but have monarchs who are technically heads of state with partial or restricted powers and authorities. Absolute monarchies are states where the monarch has complete and autocratic control over the nation.

While things vary from one monarchy to the next, the post of the monarch is traditionally an inherited one. The position lasts either until death or abdication. Having said that, a number of elective monarchies have a selection process to choose the monarch.

Monarchy was a very common form of government across much of history, particularly in Africa, Europe, and Asia. A king, queen, or emperor would assume a throne and would be considered to have a direct influence or connection with deities or a single god, depending on whether or not the nation or civilization in question was polytheistic or monotheistic. A number of monarchs would actually proclaim themselves as being divine themselves.

Resistance, uprisings, and enhanced philosophies, as well as a desire for rule of more equitable laws for commoners, led to the eventual weakening of the absolute powers of monarchs. The English Magna Carta is one of many such examples. In the new world of the Americas, monarchies do not really exist, although Commonwealth states might technically have the British monarch as their head of state.

What Is An Oligarchy

You may be familiar with types of power structures such as a monarchy and democracy, but there is another type of structure, known as an oligarchy. This is basically when there are a few people ruling together who are more powerful and richer than the people that they are ruling over. These are usually nobles or aristocrats and include both men and women. Even if the women are not a part of the council, they are typically the wives or mothers who have significant control over their husbands or sons who are a part of the council.

As a result, oligarchies are not male-only power structures, which means that they can be quite good for the empowerment of women. Now, in an oligarchy, the group of people that are in charge, can be elected in a variety of ways. In some cases, some people are born into it while others may be elected by the people and yet others, become a part of the council by owning large amounts of land, property, and money.

The council usually meets on a regular basis, such as every week or every month in order to discuss important issues and make decisions. They basically decide on the laws that rule the majority such as what are punishable crimes and the punishments. It also helped establish the role of law firms.

This type of power structure is not as common as you may think and monarchies are much more popular. An example of oligarchies in history includes the rule of most Greek cities after the dark ages. Athens, Thebes, Corinth, and Etruscans were oligarchies. The Roman Republic that began in 500 BC was mostly an oligarchy as well. During the middle ages, cities like Venice, Florence and Genoa were both oligarchic and democratic. After looking at much of history, this type of rule was more common in Europe and rarely found in other countries.

Many authors have characterized the United States as having many characteristics of an oligarchy. Many political scientists have indicated that the vast majority of Americans don’t have much control over policies being formed by the government whereas the wealthy 1% does have more significant control. The average citizen typically only gets what they want if the wealthier Americans and specific business groups have those same interests, which is a classic indication of an oligarchy.

In closing, we have just taken a closer look at what is an oligarchy as well as specific examples of this power structure in history and present times. Here’s a great video that explains it more in depth:

What is Democracy and How Does it Work?

Democracy is a form of government which operates by allowing the population of the country or state to choose their own elected representatives. There are many examples of democracy in action. The UK is run by a democracy and has a monarch as a figurehead, in the form of a constitutional monarchy. This is in contrast to other western countries, which generally have representative democracies.

The idea of a Presidential Democracy is common in the Americas and in Asia, but it is a complex system of democracy which sees the president elected through a free election, and then serving has a head of state and also as the head of the government. The president is relatively secure in his legislature, but members of the legislative branch are equally difficult to remove. This means that there is a separation of powers. The president and the legislature can, in some cases, control separate parties and this can interfere with the operation of the state.

Some US states have a hybrid or semi-direct democracy. The Swiss Confederation is another example of that. At a federal level, citizens have the ability to propose changes to the constitution. They can also ask for a referendum on any law which the Parliament will then have to vote on. The Swiss population is quite well educated in terms of democracy, and quite eager to participate. In a period of a little over ten years from January 1995, through to June 2005, they voted a total of 31 times, answering 103 questions.

In the United States, there are several states which have direct democracy systems, but this is not offered on a federal level. In New England, town meetings are often used to determine local issues and manage the local government. In Vermont, there are annual town meetings where issues regarding schools, budgets, etc are voted on.

There are other kinds of democracy including liberal democracies and socialist democracies. Even anarchism is considered to be a democracy of a sort. Majority rule is consistent with anarchism, but not all anarchists support that viewpoint.

The key idea behind democracy is that those who are eligible have the chance to vote on issues and that the group that gets the majority (or plurality) of votes will earn a decision on the issue. The difference between proportional representation and first past the post is an important part of differentiating how democracies work.