Government and Politics
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Strictly speaking, the term oligarchy is reserved for governments run by a few select individuals. However, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China can be classified as oligarchies if we extend the meaning of the term somewhat. In each case, power rests in the hands of a ruling group—the Communist party.
In a similar vein, drawing upon conflict theory, one may argue that many industrialized "democratic" nations of the west should rightly be considered oligarchies, since only a powerful few actually rule: leaders of big business, government, and the military. Later, we will examine this "elite model" of the American political system in greater detail. Dictatorship and Totalitarianism A dictatorship is a government in which one person has nearly total power to make and enforce laws.
Dictators rule primarily through the use of coercion, often including torture and executions. Typically, they seize power, rather than being freely elected (as in a democracy) or inheriting a position of power (as is true of monarchs). Some dictators are quite charismatic and achieve a certain "popularity," though this popular support is almost certain to be intertwined with fear.
Other dictators are bitterly hated by the populations over whom they rule with an iron hand. Frequently, dictatorships develop such overwhelming control over people’s lives that they are called totalitarian. Monarchies and oligarchies also have the potential to achieve this type of dominance.
Totalitarianism involves virtually complete governmental control and surveillance over all aspects of social and political life in a society. Bolt Nazi Germany under Hitler and the Soviet Union of the 1980s are classified as totalitarian states.Скачать