Friday, August 26, 2011

The Five Most Common Political Systems Around the World

By Phillip Donavan

When we speak of political systems, it’s difficult to determine what the most common types are. After all, many political systems are similar, or have similar roots. Many countries actually have republics of some kind — variants of democracy. As you study political science, it can be helpful to understand some of the most common types of political systems from around the world.

Understanding different political systems is important. Each political system has its advantages and disadvantages. It is worth considering the merits of other political systems, and perhaps incorporating some of the ideas into your own system. Some of the five more common political systems around the world include:

  1. Democracy
  2. Republic
  3. Monarchy
  4. Communism
  5. Dictatorship
Here are some overviews of these five fairly recognizable political systems:

1. Democracy



We often hear the United States referred to as a democracy. Indeed, many refer to the U.S. as a representative democracy. A democracy in a more traditional sense is a political system that allows for each individual to participate. There are two rather popular types of democracy:
  • Direct Democracy: Many scholars point to Athens as an example of direct democracy. Technically, every citizen has an equal say in the workings of government. (The qualifications for being considered a citizen are completely different.) Citizens could show up at a meeting, and then directly participate in the governing process, and the process of making laws.
  • Representative Democracy: In a representative democracy set-up, citizens elect representatives who actually make the law. The United States operates similarly to this principle. Citizens elect legislators who, in turn, make laws. In the U.S., even the president isn’t elected directly; representatives called electors make the decision (although designated electors usually vote according to the wishes of the citizens in their states).
Other types of democracy include versions known as deliberative democracy, in which citizens approach decision making by considering different viewpoints and options, as well as democratic socialism, in which citizens help make decisions or vote for policies that are socialistic in nature. There are other types of democracy as well. The defining characteristic is some level of citizen participation in the political system.

2. Republic



In theory, a republic is a political system in which the government remains mostly subject to those governed. Some scholars define any political system in which the citizens legitimize the government. As such, some (including Montesquieu) consider the U.S. a republic. Indeed, there are those that believe that any form of government that is not based on heritage or authoritarian governance. In some cases, a representative democracy (or any form of democracy) might be considered a republic. Some of the types of republics that you might see include:
  • Crowned (a constitutional monarchy might be considered a crowned republic)
  • Single Party
  • Capitalist
  • Federal (the United States is often referred to as a federal republic)
  • Parliamentary
The main characteristic of a republic is that the government is subject to the people, and leaders can be recalled. Some even make the argument that an oligarchy, which is rule by a few citizens, or a group of citizens, is a form of republic, since the government is subject to some of the wishes of some of the governed.

3. Monarchy



When most of us think of a monarchy, we think of the political systems of medieval European countries. In a monarchy, a ruler is not usually chosen by the voice of the people or their representatives. Often a monarch is the head of state until he or she abdicates or until death. In many cases a monarch is the final word in government. There may be functionaries to make decisions and run the political system, but the monarch has discretion with the laws, and how they are enforced.

However, as with other political systems, there are different types of monarchies. The type that many of us think of as common is the absolute monarchy, in which the monarch truly has the ultimate say in matters of government. However, most monarchies in political systems today do not follow this method. Many of them, especially in the developed world, have limits. Constitutional monarchies fall into this category (and are sometimes considered republics as well). In this type of monarchy, the ruler is the head of state, but a constitution limits the power, and others make laws. The U.K., Denmark, Kuwait, Spain, Sweden, Tuvalu, and many more are examples of constitutional monarchies.

Other types of monarchies include duchies, grand duchies, elective monarchy (where the monarch is actually elected), and non-sovereign monarchy.

4. Communism



In most cases, a communist state is based on the ideology of communism as taught by Marx and/or Lenin. However, some argue that these political systems are not true to the ideals espoused by these revolutionary thinkers. Communist states are often dominated by a single party, or a group of people. A planned economy is often part of the governing class, and in many cases resources are taken and then redistributed to others, at the top of the system. Sometimes communists call themselves “workers’ states” or “socialist,” but there are very real differences in their operation. In a lot of cases, citizens are required to do certain jobs, or have some of their life decisions — especially concerning where they can live and what jobs they can do. Communism is often considered an authoritarian political system.

5. Dictatorship



Another authoritarian form of government is the dictatorship. Normally, a dictator is the main individual ruling the country. While there are lackeys and others who work for the dictator, he or she makes most of the decisions, and usually has enforcers. In some cases, the political system is run by a small group of people. Dictators are not restricted by constitutions or parliaments. The governed are usually not consented in any way. Elections held are usually affairs in which the dictator is the only candidate.

One of the more common types of dictatorship is the military dictatorship, in which a military organization governs, running the political system. Sometimes, the military just exerts a great deal of pressure on the government, running the country de facto. In many cases, very few benefit from the decisions made in a dictatorship.

While authoritarian political systems have the advantage of quick decisions being made, many citizens prefer other forms of government — those that allow them greater participation in the political process.

15 comments:

  1. thank you for the topic but I've got a question. is there any name for the political systems that always try to find a relationship between their countries problems and foriegn governments and always tell their citizens that other governments are trying to make problem for the country.
    thank you in advanced

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Madi. In my opinion, there is name for political system that causes problem for other sovereign nations in order to blind its citizens to its own problems. It is called BULLY Political System.
      It often uses media, to blind its own citizens, by giving too much irrelevant information. Or prevent anyone exposing the truth by calling it "Matter of National Security". Everyone think they know what does "Matter of National Security" means but no-one can define it. Nevertheless, all citizens under BULLY Political System are afraid to ask any more questions after anything is declared as "MATTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY. Just like Communism.

      I am glad you asked that question, because I was confused about under what kind of political system my government was. I think it is a Socialism pretending to be Republic but claiming to be Democratic, controlled by Capitalism, who always accuses Communists as Dictatorship. Who, also, hires Foreign Idealists to create problem for another Foreign Nation, but then calls the Foreign Idealist a terrorist, after they succeeded in order to be true to being BULLY Political System.
      :)
      I really hope you make sense of all this, because I am now more confused than before.

      But Thank You for asking the question anyway.
      P.S. "Too much of anything, is worst than nothing". Does that make any sense?

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. shut the fuck up

      Delete
    2. Hey there, tough guy.

      Delete
    3. Boy, this guy is strict.

      Delete
  3. You forgot Theological Political System (Most of the Middle East) and Corporate Political System (The USA is heading in that direction very quickly)

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  4. thanks a lot and i got a lot of information from this topic and it was useful for me

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  5. thx awesome got my homework done thanks to you XD but could do with more actual info about communism as i needed to rely on a book to tell me what it was

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  6. ...communism is an economic system. They're usually autocracies (what you mislabeled as dictatorships) but yeah. Not a political model.

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  7. Ooops!!! Yhu made my Citizenship Education Assignment Executed thanks to your Topic.. Am so Glad... @David texting from Lagos, Nigeria.

    ReplyDelete