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Before you straightaway dig into the pros and cons of oligarchy, we do like to first introduce with the basic concept of oligarchy.
Oligarchy is the structure of the powerful people that allows a few businessmen, families, or individuals to control an organization, an institution, or even a country. They maintain their power by making strong relationships with each other and having a degree of power over the people they have in place as the official government.
The Oligarchs have enough power to rule many aspects of a specific society. They directly or indirectly make policies that only benefit them or their groups, to the exclusion of the rest of the community. This ultimate power and its abuse has a great impact on the pros and cons of oligarchy, in a negative manner.
The word “oligarchy” originates from the Greek word oligarkhia, it means “few to rule or governing”. The oligarchs only associate with those who share the same traits & form an organization while the rest of citizens remain unorganized.
Most of us know very little about oligarchy. Therefore, if you are the one finding the answer to your question about the advantages & disadvantages of an oligarchy system then this article is a treat for you as it aims to address your query by listing the pros and cons of oligarchy.
Let’s begin the journey to explore the pros and cons of oligarchy!
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Structure Of Oligarchy:
In many cases, many of the governments that have democracies or monarchies may truly be ruled by oligarchies. These governments being highly influenced by the rich and powerful families or corporations. In fact, there are people who even claim that the United is, in fact, mostly an Oligarchy, due to the immense power some families and corporations wield. (I don’t believe this personally, however)
Before going through the pros and cons of oligarchy we’ll know about the structure of it.
The structure of oligarchy is divided into the following.
Oligarchies can also have control over corporations, companies along with the country. If a few businesses are essential to the success of the country, to the point where if the business fails, the country fails, then they are a perfect target for this form of oligarchy.
Oligarchy vs. Plutocracy:
Plutocracy is an element of oligarchy. In a plutocracy, the members of plutocracy are always considered rich while the members of oligarchy could be rich or not. Another difference between plutocracy and oligarchy is direct control. Many oligarchies have indirect control. They can be the puppet masters behind the scenes. In a plutocracy it is simply a matter of the richest being in charge of just about everything that matters.
Oligarchy vs. Aristocracy:
Aristocracy is a subset of oligarchy, the members of aristocracy belong to the elite class. Similar too plutocracy many aristocrats are rich, but unlike it, it is not a requirement. Aristocracy is rule by the elite. Aristocrats are often hereditary passing their postitions down to only the children of other aristocrats.
10 Pros And Cons Of Oligarchy:
Here are the top pros and cons of the oligarchy that are associated with this form of the governing system.
note: These Pros and Cons of Oligarchy are based on the
List of 5 Pros of Oligarchy:
- Consolidate Power To Experts:
While discussing the pros and cons of Oligarchy, we have to know that in an oligarchy, the system is run by those who have relevant skills and experience in the area they control. Power is given to them because they are the best and do what is right.
The members of this system are groomed in a way to take over the specific position, sometimes from birth. Their parents train them to learn their craft before being given a position within a government or organization.
- Anyone is Allowed To Join:
Most commonly it has seen that Oligarchs we see today attempt to consolidate the power to themselves or their family. But a true oligarchy is of the view that anyone who is capable and has skills can join this system to be succeeded in life. In its purest form an oligarchy can be nearly indistinguishable from a meritocracy. Unfortunately, this lofty goal of Oligarchy almost never happens.
- Minimal Pressure on Society:
When oligarchy is operating accurately, it distributes the system into two halves. One half taking care of societal actions and for the well-being of citizens, while those outsides of the ruling class have enough time to focus on their jobs, individual can pursue specific personal or career goals.
Families can create relationships with one another. Oligarchy allows people to live freely with a greater level of effectiveness.
- Encourages Creative Endeavors:
In theory with the oligarchs ruling over society, they solve citizens’ problems. This means the citizens are free to do what they seek, since they do not need to waste time worrying about what the government is doing.
In this way, an average person can focus on their creativity rather than considering any problem. People can work on innovative technologies and make themselves able to focus on science, art, music, or whatever they are passionate about.
The talented masters can take on apprentices to teach them new skills and pass their talent to the new generation, just as the current generation of oligarchs will find and develop the next generation of oligarchs.
- Oligarchy is not Biased:
In an oligarchy organization, there is no bias for men or women. Both genders are given their own equal rights. History is witness that the oligarchy system has supported great kings and queens. For women especially when she comes from a resourceful background with wealth, there is a dominant place in this system.
List of Cons of Oligarchy:
- Societal Divisions:
In an oligarchy system, the ruling class decides to fix prices on certain items so that only the wealthiest one can get the benefit of it. This includes education, access to good food, or the number of working hours.
They set rules to give all the advantages to their friends and family and restrict the access of general population to them. It shakes the trust of the people they rule over possibly causing civil unrest. This can also cause artificial inflation and ends up in a huge loss for the economy.
- It Creates Puppet Leaders:
In the average oligarchy system, the leadership is not strong at all. To overcome this inherent weakness in the Oligarchy system, the leaders attempt to consolidate their power. But the true power does not lie in the puppet leader but in the group of people that surrounds, controls and manages the official leader.
- Disrupt the Economy:
Oligarchy creates frustration in the society. Separates the country into two groups. Those with all the power and all the rest of the people, who are nearly powerless.
Some of the powerless spend all their time and energy trying to work their way into becoming the oligarchic elite themselves. But most of the general population become frustrated when they find no chance to join the oligarchy system. This causes conflict that can build to protests, insurrection and possibly even revolution and war, creating a lot of pain and suffering.
As you know, the economy of a system is important. Among the pros and cons of oligarchy, disruption of the economy is one of the most dangerous cons of oligarchy.
- Encourages Income Inequality:
Wealth usually tends to go toward the rulers than the workers in an oligarchy system. Their is a chance a person might become an oligarch from poor and meager backgrounds. But there is not much chance that they stay poor.
This is because the ruling class funnels the wealth to themselves. Since they set up the system and rules, and have no checks and balances, they are able to profit greatly off of their positions.
- Inhibits Growth:
An oligarchy easily transforms into tyranny, causing oppression in society. As a result, the power consolidates to the few rather than too many. A good ruler can use this system for the positive of society, like the tyrants of ancient Greece. But this is the exception. In general, oligarchies simply inhibit the growth of the society, reduce wealth and limit the power of the common man.
In an oligarchy, every decision comes from a singular perspective. This often leads to stagnant growth, values, and even morals over time
10 Interesting Oligarchy Facts
We are not going to share the pros and cons of oligarchy and end the article. Instead, we are now sharing the interesting and intriguing oligarchy facts that every student should know.
1. The concept of oligarchy arises from the Greek political vocabulary and it means the political power of the few.
2. The term “oligarchy” was firstly introduced by Aristotle to refer the ruling power exercised by the small group in a country repeatedly.
3. The term Oligarchies have been a synonym of aristocracies, which were the noble and wealthy members of the community and they ruled for a long time.
4. Aristotle used the term oligarchic in a negative sense to refer to the old system in the form of aristocracy, the system which was in the hands of a few corrupt individuals.
5. Oligarchies were often controlled by powerful families, whose children were raised and considered the heir of the power of the oligarchy.
6. Examples of such setups can be seen in South Africa under apartheid, Liberia under Americo-Liberians, the Sultanate of Zanzibar, Russia and Rhodesia.
7. The modern United States has sometimes been categorized in oligarchy because of the economic elites and organized groups that have an impact on U.S. government policies.
8. Some authors even said that the current circumstances in the United States as oligarchic in nature.
9. In 1998, Bob Herbert of The New York Times referred to modern American plutocrats as “The Donor Class”.
10. The difference between oligarchy & monarchy is the term oligarchy means “the rule of the few” while monarchy means “the rule of one”.
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Oligarchy Quotes – 10 Powerful Quotes (with Images)
As we have discussed the pros and cons of oligarchy in detail, in this section, we will share some quotes of famous personalities that reveal the pros and cons of an oligarchy system.
1.“Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.”― Alice Walker
2. “We are in a prison of our own minds holding our own chains around us. We create our oligarchs and fight for their right to oppress us.”― Heather Marsh, Binding Chaos
3. “Greed crowned emperorrules the earth with cold disdain for harmony’s path.”
― Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams
4. “Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.”― Aristotle
5. “Greed crowned emperor rules the earth with cold disdain for harmony’s path.” ― Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams
6. “Big government = oligarchy. Simple equation. Big government = loss of representation.” ― E. Samaan
7. “The principle of equality, which is at the core of democratic values, has very little meaning in a world in which global oligarchy is taking over.” ― Bell Hooks
8. “A “centrally planned economy” by definition discourages and despises participation by the masses. It’s a bureaucratic oligarchy.” ― E. Samaan
9. “The financial elite already have the politicians in their pockets, as a result of their lobbying.” ― Kenneth Eade,
10. “Money has replaced the vote.”― Chris Hedges
The top illustrating pros and cons of oligarchy, reveals that if the ruling class of the oligarchy system is honest and good, the structure of the system will be in the right direction and provide several opportunities to the society.
It became problematic when this system is under those who just need power tend to work for them, instead of utilizing it to bring a change in society and creating new opportunities for the people.