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A model of political systems

Updated on April 16, 2016

World wide political systems

Politics is the system humans use to spread the resources they have over the goals they have. So you might expect that there would be only one politcal system in which everybody has its say in how resources will be allocated to goals. But what we see is a world in which basically there are two systems and within those two systems there are a benign and a malign model.

The two systems are democracy and dictatorship or monocracy.

The benign model of democracy uses many parties to represent the goals people within the system have. Within this benign model of democracy all citizens are allowed to have their say about how the resources will be used to reach the goals. The malign model of democracy is the one party state in which people are only allowed to choose what goals will be achieved, after which they are expected to help achieve them.

The benign model of dictatorship is the enlightened monarch or dictator. A dictator that sees himself as a good parent and whishes the best for his fellow citizens. The malign model is the selfish dictator who uses his position to better his personal situation at the expense of others.

School of fish
School of fish

Democracy and dictatorship are natural

Natures way

Democracy in a way is as old as social species. Even fish swimming in schools show a simple form of democracy. The fish that sees the food is the one that decides where the school goes. And all fish in the school vote for the decision of that one fish to change course by following his course.

Off course this is not really democracy, this is just a simple form of trying to survive by living in a group. In reality you can not even call this democracy because there is only one goal that steers the school, namely survival. But it shows how democracy works in a simple way. Choose a goal and decide how you wish to achieve that goal every step of the way. So you might say that nature is a democratic system, every individual part decides how it will achieve its goal of survival of itself and its species.

But nature is also a dictatorship. No one species can choose to pursue a different goal then that of survival. Because if you do not do everything to survive you will perish and any species that does not change with its situation or can not adept to changes in its surroundings goes extinct.

Political systems - Which do you prefer

Although democracy is preferred by most in the northern hemisphere, it is not the only political system we find on this planet we call earth.

What do you prefer?

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Human democracy from the start - Natural behavior

Voting with a smile
Voting with a smile

In school we are taught that the first democracy, power by the people, is the city state of Athens in Greece. But then you are talking about an official democracy. A democracy that has come about because people choose to organize their politics that way. But in reality democracy is much older.

The first human groups were democratic, because that was the best way to survive. They did not need to choose to be democratic, because democratic groups were much more adept at surviving than groups with a single leader. So it was a logical choice to be democratic. As the group gave protection to predators and made finding food much more efficient. Many eyes see more than one pair of eyes. Many minds know more than one mind.

So the central idea of democracy is that all members of the group have an equal say in what the group is going to do. In some situations it might be different, for example during a disaster or when you go to war. In those situations it might be better to have a single person giving orders what to do. But in most other situations you want to decide collectively on the basis of information what you are going to do before you do it. Because else you will be losing precious time and opportunities what to do at a moment you do not have time to decide what to do. Prey will not wait for the hunters to decide to attack or not.

So humans have always used democracy to decide what they were going to do. And if someone did not like that he had a right to leave and start his own group. Something that happened a lot of times until we come to Athens in Greece and the humans living there decide they will call it democracy in contrast to the other city states of Greece that most of the time had dictatorships.

The Dictator
The Dictator

Human politics

Or should it be political humans

Human nature is to be democratic, but only to a certain extent. The point where humans go from democratic to dictatorship is often linked to there level of anxiety to loose what they have and the amount of power they can wield. That is why most humans will choose to create a dictatorship if they think that will improve their survival. Although some humans choose to create a dictatorship if they think they know what is best for everybody and think the current course will bring harm to a lot of people.

A problem with a dictatorship however is that you need others that think the same and are willing to help you to hold on to the power. Because you might be able to become a dictator in a group of four or five persons and hold on to your position if you have a weapon or if you are the strongtest. So the other members will be afraid of you and fear for their lifes. But the moment a group goes over ten persons it becomes almost impossible to keep an eye on all of them. That is why you see groups within groups before a dictatorship can start. The person who is to be the dictator needs people who will do what he wants. Maybe because they are afraid of him, maybe because they agree with him or maybe because he bought their loyalty.

So dictatorship is a choice humans have next to democracy. And even though there are examples of dictatorships that were very beneficial to the group, more often than not, dictatorships are most of all beneficial to the dictator and his friends and helpers. But like democracy dictatorship is just a way of spreading the resources a group of humans have.

Good or bad politics - Benign and Malign democracies

Red Square
Red Square

We all know examples of bad dictatorships. However from the point of view of a free democracy every dictatorship is bad. But there are democracies that are not much better than a bad dictatorship.

An example that comes directly to mind is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. A republic is often associated with a democratically chosen president. For example the United States of America is a republic in which the citizens have the right to choose their political leader of government. However Myanmar has been a dictatorships since 1962 when general Ne Win came to power and was deposed by a military junta in 1988, which stayed in power up to now. Even the 1990 or the 2010 elections did not change anything in Myanmar. Except that the military junta now is in power under a more political name, namely president and government.

Some other examples of what some western democracies would call semi democracies is the Russian Federation or the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

These democracies have no problem with creating rules that make it possible for their leaders to stay in power indefinitely. Or to take the Republic of Suriname for example, where the president, who is suspected of killing opponents during his years as leader of a military junta, is pardoned through the creation of a law. Behavior you typically would expect to see in a dictatorship not in a democracy. So you could call these democracies malign.

Where most citizens of a benign democracy would expect their officials not the seek office completely for their own benefit. But most of all expect their democratically chosen officials to seek several re-elections only for controlling functions as member of parliament, membre de l'Assemblé, senator or U.S. representatives. So we would frown on a president that would take office three or four times in a row. In the United States this is even a rule laid down in the 22nd amendment to the Bill of Rights.

Democracy versus dictatorship - Which one is best

Assemblée Nationale
Assemblée Nationale

For most democrats saying that there are bad democracies and good dictatorships is like swearing. But if we look at what we expect from a democracy and think a dictatorship is, we forget the fact that both are made by the humans that live in them. So in a democracy where its leaders only go for their own profits and citizens treat their leaders as saints or act from fear, you could better speak of a dictatorship. Maybe the laws seem to be created by chosen officials, but in reality the rules are made to benefit the leaders and their chosen few.

Where there are dictatorships in which the rules are just and of a comparable quality to laws created in democracies where the chosen representatives seek to make laws that benefit everybody.

So it is rather difficult to say that democracies are good and dictatorships are bad. If one wants to make this distinction between good and bad political systems, one has to look at what the politicians create. Are there almost only benefits for a select few, then you can say the people live in a dictatorship, even if that dictatorship calls itself a democracy. Are the benefits created by politicians available to most or all people you can talk of a democracy, even if the democracy calls itself a dictatorship.

What do you think of democracies and dictatorships?

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    • Normyo Yonormyo profile image
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      Normyo Yonormyo 5 years ago

      @ajgodinho: As you say ajgodinho, democracy is preferred by most people if they know

      the definition. But I wonder how many people know the definition for

      democracy, especially people living in democracies.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Going by the definition of Democracy, I think most people would choose a democratic style of governance. One could say that some dictatorships have worked well in maintaining law, order and economic stability. Take Iraq, for example, almost a decade later after the war, democracy has brought about much chaos, pain, suffering, and economic instability to the country. Like you said, democracy takes time and we must be willing to pay the price for freedom and learn to work together for the common good.

    • Normyo Yonormyo profile image
      Author

      Normyo Yonormyo 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I can only agree with you karmicchristian, we often let our herd mentality decide. If people would choose a more personal democratic approach to their lives they probably would vote more democratic. But democracy takes time, something we think is worth more if we earn money with it then when we use it to make democratic choices.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      IMO, most of us 'Humans' tend to have a herd mentality... This leads to us following many wrong leads and are subsequently disillusioned. 'Any' form of governance is good - as long as there is leadership with a vision! I advocate to democracy on a personal level though! Enjoyed my visit here... Thanks!