The Different Forms of Government and the Best Among Them

Best Form of Government
With no consensus about which the best form of government is, we decided to evaluate various options available to see which is the most ideal of the lot. Read on...
Though many people are of the opinion that democracy is by far the best form of government, Aristotle - one of the greatest philosopher that the world has ever known, was not quite in favor of the same. In fact, he was of the opinion that other forms of government, including aristocracy and monarchy, were a better bet when the interest of the nation was a priority for the rulers. He often argued that democracy, which basically revolves around the principle of 'rule by the people for the people' becomes useless when it went into wrong hands. That's something which is becoming more and more obvious in almost all the democratic nations of the world, and this very loophole of this form of government has brought it under the scanner of late.

Different Forms of Governments

When we talk about the different forms of government, most of us can't think beyond democracy and dictatorship, and that's something which can be attributed to the ignorance about different types of governments. There is no doubt about the fact that democracy-dictatorship debate is one of the most talked about subjects in the world today, but there also exist other forms which even though seem alike, tend to differ from each other on certain grounds. Given below is the list of some of the most prominent forms of government that need to be taken into consideration when trying to determine which is the best.
  • Democracy: By far the most widely followed form of government in the world today, democracy refers to political system wherein the power of electing the people who will represent them lies in the hands of citizens themselves. Popular no doubt, but is democracy the best form of governance we can opt for? That can be only determined by assessing what the other forms have in store for us.
  • Dictatorship: If democracy is most famous, dictatorship is perhaps the most infamous form of government, wherein there is a single ruler who is not restricted by any constitution or opposition. It is one of the two forms of autocracy, other being monarchy.
  • Monarchy: An autocratic form of government - similar to dictatorship, wherein the monarch i.e. the supreme ruler, inherits the authority instead of seizing it as in case of a dictator.
  • Aristocracy: A form of government - which was quite popular until a few centuries ago, wherein the people belonging to a privileged class became the rulers on the basis of hereditary.
  • Anarchy: A political system which is typically characterized by enforced political authority in the absence of publicly recognized government.
  • Plutocracy: A political system wherein the state is governed by the wealthy people.
  • Theocracy: A political system wherein the government is under the control of some religious group.
  • Despotism: A system of governance wherein the ruler is absolute dictator who considers the citizens his slaves.
  • Oligarchy: A political system wherein the ruling class consists of a group of people who are brought together by factors such as royal inclination, wealth, military control, etc.
  • Meritocracy: A form of government wherein the representatives are appointed on the basis of their merit i.e. intelligence, education, etc., instead of popular choice.
Of the different types of governments mentioned above only few are practiced as of today. As we said earlier, democracy is the most popular form of government, and the United States of America in itself is one of the best examples of the same. Other nations which resort to democracy in its varying forms include India, the United Kingdom, Canada, etc. On the other hand, most of the dictatorships can be traced to Africa and Asia, with countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea featuring in the list. This may come as a surprise for many, but monarchy also prevails in various parts of the world today. Some examples of absolute monarchy include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Brunei, Swaziland etc. Most of the other forms enlisted above were prominent in the past, but were phased off with time.

Which of the Existing Forms is the Best?

That being said, it is virtually impossible to find out any form of governance which will come clean on all the factors. Each of the different types of governments mentioned here has its own pros and cons, and therefore we are left with no option but to come up with the best of the available lot. That sounds similar to the concept of choosing lesser evil which is frequently used when it comes to elections in democratic countries. At the end of the day, everything comes down to sheer execution of the system of governance that the country resorts to. While democracy seems to be an ideal form of the government on paper, its execution is the most difficult as politicians from all over the world have identified and exploited the loopholes of the same for quite some time now.

There exist various sub-types of democracy - namely ancient democracy, direct democracy, liberal democracy and representative democracy. The last of the lot, i.e. representative democracy is also further grouped into single party and two party political system. Coalition government is referred to as government on crutches, and that's the foremost problem with representative democracy. The democratic system of government has also been heavily criticized for being too harsh on minority communities for pleasing the majority community. This practice has earned this form of government the title 'tyranny of the majority'. Those in favor of representative democracy argue that democratic government only ignores minorities when they are against the overall well-being of the nation, which is quite rare. They further argue that there are too many positives of democracy as compared to its negatives. No other form of government respects the individuals right of freedom as democracy does, and that makes it the best form of government - the say of the people.

As Aristotle said, dictatorship and monarchy are the best forms available but only when the development of nation is the priority for the ruler, and not its exploitation. It is very difficult to come to a consensus to this statement, but experts do argue that countries like Saudi Arabia - wherein absolute monarchy is practiced, is better than coalition based democracy in India. Is that really true? As we have been saying throughout the write-up, there are too many ifs and buts involved here, and that makes it all the more difficult to state which is the best of the lot, the ideal though - according to us, is democracy when practiced in the right spirit.
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