Choosing a system of government
IN my article last week, I mentioned about various forms of government since the times of Greeks and Romans and thoughts of Plato and Aristotle on various forms of government which have been tried and practised and their practical application and workability .When it comes to types of government, it’s anything but simple.
Governments are ever-evolving, which means national governments are composed of several types.
To help simplify, explore examples of different types of governments found around the globe.
When it comes to types of government, five specific types come to the forefront. Most forms of government are some variation of one of these or mixture of some.
Authoritarian: In an authoritarian regime, the government has total control. Authoritarian regimes have typically earned this control by forceful means. While this seems pretty cut and dried, it is anything but.
Authoritarian regimes aren’t always easy to recognize. They might still hold elections and have branches of government, but only a small group holds power, not the people.
A good worldly example of an authoritarian government is Cuba.
Democracy: Another big government type is democracy, which is an example of a limited government.
In direct contrast to an authoritarian government, a democracy exists when the people hold the power. Different types of democracy include direct and representative.
If you’ve ever wondered about the United States’ government type, democracy is your answer.
But they’re not the only example of democracy in the world. Canada, Sweden and Columbia are a few other examples.
Monarchy: A monarchy isn’t as common as a democracy, but you still hear about them. In a monarchy, one family rules the roost, so to speak.
And their title is passed down through the generations. However, much like a democracy, who is in charge isn’t totally cut and dried.
In an absolute monarchy, the king or ruler is in control of all the government. The more common constitutional monarchy has a royal family, but they serve mostly as ceremonial figures.
As an example, think of the United Kingdom and Queen Elizabeth. She is the queen, but Parliament has most government control.
Oligarchy: Similar to a monarchy, an oligarchy places power in a few people. However, titles aren’t passed down through the family or even from one person. Instead, it could be a group of people such as a country’s wealthy.
The power might be passed down from one family to another, but it has nothing to do with bloodlines. Examples through history include China and the Soviet Union.
Totalitarian: When you think of a totalitarian government, it takes absolute power to the extreme.
These leaders control not only the government but the personal life of their people. Citizens have no say in government, and the totalitarian regime is 100% in charge. This type of government is forceful and extreme.
Remember Hitler and Nazi Germany? That was totalitarianism at play!Types of Government Found Around the World & in History: While the top five might be the types of government you hear the most about, that list is by far complete. Rather, you’ll find several different types of government that exist.
Some of these types fall into a larger category, while others are completely unique. Check out other types of government seen around world and through history.
Anarchy: Anarchy isn’t a type of government; it’s actually the absence of one. In an anarchist society, a central governing body doesn’t exist.
Many times, anarchy will take center stage when a government collapses. A few historical examples include Albania in 1997 and Germany after the First World War.
Aristocracy: To remember Aristocracy, think aristocrat. In an aristocracy, the wealthy or noble hold the power.
These privileged few leaders make up the ruling class or elite. Historically, ancient Greece had an aristocratic government. A modern example is the royal family in the UK and to some aspects, the Kennedys in the United States.
Dictatorship: Typically, a dictatorship goes hand-in-hand with an authoritarian and totalitarian government.
In this government form, a dictator rules. And they typically assert their authority using military power, which is called a military dictatorship. There have been many dictatorships throughout history.
Famous examples include Joseph Stalin’s rule of Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein’s rule of Iraq. North Korea falls into this list as well.
Federalism: Federalism is all about dividing power.
Not only does the government have central power, but local states or regions also have their own specific powers.
For example, in the U.S., the federal government is the central power, but the individual states all have their own regional and state governing laws. This means state laws might be different in California than they are in Tennessee.
Republicanism: Many times, you see ‘Republic of’ this or ‘Republic of’ that. When something is a true republic as in republicanism, it means the citizens have the power. They have the voting power and the power to make changes in their government.
Now, republicanism can get quite confusing because it typically goes hand-in-hand with federalism and theocracy. Examples include France and India.
Theocracy: Types of governments are about who rules. In a theocracy, the ruler is God or a deity.
The creation of laws comes from religious texts, scriptures, and spiritual leaders. A theocracy also mixes with other types of government.
For example, Iran is an Islamic democracy, and the Vatican government is dictated by the Christian religion and pope.
Capitalism: While capitalism is actually a type of economy, many times, it works to drive a government and political power.
In capitalism, the government doesn’t run the economy; instead, private-ownership corporations and businesses do. While the U.S. is a mixed economy, many would consider it capitalistic. Other examples include Switzerland and Hong Kong.
Communism: When it comes to what type of government China has, most people might think of communist.
Actually, China is probably one of the most famous historical examples of a communist government. However, in modern China, the answer isn’t as simple as that.
So, what is communism? A theory created by Karl Marx, communism is where everything is publicly owned rather than privately like in capitalism.
It’s an attempt to create a classless society, but it typically happens through a violent revolution. Beyond China, communist examples include Vietnam and Laos.
Socialism: Socialism and communism form from the same ideals of Karl Marx for a utopian, classless society.
However, while communism uses violence to achieve its aims, socialism places emphasis on making small changes through reforms and laws.
Additionally, communism doesn’t have private property, while in socialism, you can own property, but industry is regulated by the government. Socialist examples found around the world include Algeria and Tanzania.
Pakistan has tried Democracy and Dictatorship. Parliamentary form of government and Presidential.
Democratic governments unfortunately have been the most corrupt though democracy as a system is not bad if practice of buying/selling of votes is completely eliminated and tainted and corrupt politicians are barred from contesting elections.
We need urgent reforms and sooner we control corruption better will it be for country which right now is in dire straits due to economic conditions.
— The writer is former DG (Emigration) and consultant ILO, IOM.