Oligarchy is a unique form of government in which a few wealthy and powerful people run the nation. These powerful people are top military officers, or those having great political influence. These governments have been in existence since ages and even today, there are some countries with such governments. Oligarchies have been classified as caste oligarchies and elected oligarchies. In caste oligarchies, the younger generation inherits political power from the older generation. In case of an elected oligarchy, the common people vote for their leaders to run the government. However, caste oligarchies are more common than elected oligarchies because every family in the position of power wishes to continue its rule on a state or nation.
Characteristics of Oligarchy Government
- Oligarchies are generally governments run by few elite families.
- In such a government structure, the children in the elite family inherit power and topmost administrative positions from senior rulers upon attainment of maturity.
- Oligarchies are often criticized as governments run by rich people favoring the rich as this kind of government does not focus on uplifting the weaker sections of the society.
- This form of government is also called a form of dictatorship in which the role of common people is extremely limited.
- In such a government, common people might not be granted fundamental rights which are essential for any person to live a good life.
Effects of Oligarchies
Concentration of Wealth
Concentration of wealth in the hands of a few privileged people can perhaps be the biggest disadvantage of such a government. In such a government, most wealth is with the elite class and this affects the standard of living of the common masses. Concentration of wealth can be disastrous for the nation.
Lack of Education
Educational and career opportunities are scarce in oligarchies. Most of the time, people from the lower section of the society do not have access to good educational institutions, or simply cannot afford the cost of education. Low awareness of education in such countries can lead to low literacy rates and rising crimes.
Low Level of Job Creation
Concentration of wealth leads to slow or negative economic growth in oligarchies. When the economic growth is low, and there are no good policies and efforts made to improve the situation, the job opportunities are also very low. So, this can lead to rising unemployment levels and low quality of life in oligarchy government-run countries.
When the control of the entire nation is in the hands of a few influential people, corruption can rise to an uncontrollable extent. Many malpractices such as black marketing, siphoning of money, financial frauds, and bribery are common in such a government. This again has a direct effect on the life of common man.
Lack of Peace
In oligarchies, it is possible that some groups of people will revolt against unacceptable government policies. In case these revolts become violent, they can disturb public peace and safety greatly. Such a violent environment is never considered to be conducive for the growth and development of a state.
Oligarchy government is not considered to be a people-friendly government by most sociologists and people following politics closely. According to them, democracy is the best form of government, as it helps in the overall growth of a nation, and brings stability and peace to it.