"Historical evolution mocks all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy. If laws are passed to control the dominion of the leaders, it is the laws which gradually weaken, and not the leaders."
Oligarchy is a political system where a small group of individuals are the collective rulers, usually indirectly through lobbying a head of state, though this group can rule directly in some cases. This group may or may not be distinguished from the masses by one or several traits such as age and/or wealth.
Oligarchy's history can be remoted to the start of the civilizations as we know it, and it was first mentioned by Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle defined it as a degenerative form of Aristocracy, while Plato argued oligarchy will arise when the succession of an aristocratic system is perpetuated by blood or mythical transfer, without the ethical and managerial qualities of the best arising on their own merit, contrary to Meritocracy. Basically a step to degenerate into a Tyranny.
The first oligarchies that are documented appeared in Ancient Greece, such examples could be shown as the Thirty Tyrants of Athens or the Spartan system of "rotating" ephors, which limited the power of the kings. Which was heavily criticised by Plato and Aristotle. However, the widespread opinion in his time about the need for a property qualification in the election of the most worthy — as it happened in Carthage — Aristotle also rejected it because of the actual " purchase of power».
Aristotle defined the Oligarchy in four types:
- When a moderate property is in the hands of the majority, by virtue of which the owners have the opportunity to take part in the government, and since the number of such people is large, the supreme power is inevitably in the hands of the law, not of the people. For to the extent that they are far from the monarchy if their property is not so large that they can enjoy their leisure without care, and not so insignificant that they need the support of the state-they will inevitably demand that the law should rule over them, and not themselves.
- The number of people who own property is less than the number of people in the first type of oligarchy, but the size of the property itself is greater. Having a large economic resource, these owners also make more political demands. Therefore, they themselves choose from among the other citizens who are allowed to govern the state. But because they are not yet strong enough to govern without the application of the law, they establish a law suitable for them. If the situation becomes tenser in the sense that the number of owners decreases, and the amount of property in the hands of each individual such owner increases.
- All offices are concentrated in the hands of the proprietors, and the law commands that, after their death, their sons succeed them in office.
- When their property grows to an enormous size and they acquire a mass of supporters, it turns out a dynastic oligarchy, close to the monarchy, and then the rulers become people-oligarchs and not the law — this is the fourth type of oligarchy, corresponding to the extreme type of degenerate aristocracy.
Oligarchy is inherently related to Plutocracy, and can thus be considered a subtype of it.
Oligarchy was very unknown until the French Revolution, when they redefined the term in of "the rule of few" to "the merge of the political and economic power". Intellectuals talked explained about the harmfulness of this phenomenon by the fact that such a merger leads to corruption, unfair competition and monopolism, which in turn undermines the country's economy and makes it weak and uncompetitive at the international level. Under an oligarchy, prices rise and the quality of products falls, as economic competitors within the country are suppressed by the oligarchs by political means in the interests of their own factories. Since then, the term oligarchy has been regularly used in an expanded sense. Robert Michels formulated in 1911 the "Iron law of Oligarchy" which formulated that democracy is impossible and all will go to an Oligarchy.
Soviet political-economic writers recoined the modern definition of the rule of the narrow group of people as rich or elderly.
Princeton University made a study of the analysis of the government programmes and made the decision that the the USA had converted from a Democracy to an Oligarchy, where elections became just a ceremonial procedure. The top 1% of the U.S. population by wealth in 2007 had a larger share of total income than at any time since 1928. In 2011, according to PolitiFact and others, the top 400 wealthiest Americans "have more wealth than half of all Americans combined." thus, they had a big power in American Politics in the Senate.
George Soros and Klaus Schwab are two examples of modern day oligarchs
Russia after 1991 remains a remarkable example of an oligarchy, like the Semibankirschina, or the rule of the seven bank leaders' name that contrasted it with the Seven Boyars power. The power of those is so big that they control the newspapers and even some people as Sergei Mavrodi, retained more power than the state. In the 2000s the Oligarchs still controlled most of the state enterprises and economy, even though in 2020, Dmitri Peskov claimed that "there are no oligarchs in Russia". Putin largely maintains the oligarchies and has a mutually good relationship with them.
Ukraine's situation is similar to that of Russia, as business oligarchs have a big political influence. The oligarchs' influence on the Ukrainian Government is extreme but is waning. The notable people include, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, Dmytro Firtash, etc. Overall, there are about 35 oligarch groups. In 2011 and even to this day some analysts and Ukrainian politicians believe that some Ukrainian business tycoons have extremely close relations with Russia. In 2008, the combined wealth of Ukraine's 50 richest oligarchs was equal to 85% of the country's GDP, by end of 2013, the number was 45%. In 2021, Volodymyr Zelensky declared himself the expert at who is and isn't an oligarch and through his decree formally defined an oligarch using his own criteria as:
- Involvement in political life
- Influence on mass media
- Is a de-facto owner of a monopoly, and maintains or strengthens it for over 1 year.
- Has at least 2700 million Hryvnas in assets.
People who fit those criteria are prohibited from buying privatized assets and giving campaign donations. Petro Poroshenko left the oligarch list by selling his media. Viktor Medvedchuk's channels were shut down on the unrelated offence of promoting Russophilia, while his property was seized and he is now under arrest due to accusations of treason. Rinat Akhmetov left the list by "voluntarily" handing over his media to the state. The Oligarchs are becoming gradually weaker.
Malaysia during Mahathir's Seventh Cabinet (2018-2020) consisted of a five-member advisory team called "Council of Eminent Persons" (CEP) or "Council of Elders" (Malay: Majlis Penasihat Kerajaan, literally Government Advisory Council), which is similar to an oligarch system that advises the Government of Malaysia. The Council consists of Daim Zainuddin, Zeti Akthar Aziz, Robert Kwok Hok Nien, Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Hassan Marican.
A period in the history of Brazil that was characterized by the control of politics by large coffee and milk oligarchs. Also known as the "Coffee with Milk" policy
A term denoting the joint management of the state/decision-making in communist parties with the help of a limited circle of influential figures
Most people who believe in Oligarchical forms of government generally belief that an Oligarchy is inescapable and natural.
This is belief is backed by commonly seen statistical phenomena as the Pareto principle and the less scientific Sturgeon's Law. With Pareto principle being the principle stating that within most given scenarios 20% of the population will be responsible for 80% of the productivity, and Sturgeon's law being the general rule that around 90% of any given selection will be of low quality, that is, if the judge’s bar for high quality is high enough (which can be applied to people and their ability or desire to rule others).
The Pareto principle can be seen in the polcompball community, with 20% of users receiving 90% of upvotes(though this data may be out of date now). The wiki is also an example of a formal oligarchy, being moderated by a council, not a single dictator.
Another example of statistical likelihood of Oligarchical systems to emerge is Robert Michel's Iron Law of Oligarchy, which is a rule stating that fundamentally all large organisations are oligarchical in nature and any attempt at getting rid of such a structure fundamentally (such as done in Socialist Parties and Trade Unions) only ends up re-enforcing it.
Other justifications for oligarchy include believing that no one man should have all the power or wanting representation of several groups at once.
How to Draw
- Draw a ball
- Colour it yellow
- Draw 6 red circles at the vertices of an imaginary hexagon
- Add one eye
- For the second eye, draw a monocle
- You are finished
- Gerontocracy - Believe it or not, this old man is actually my son.
- Kleptocracy - My true successor.
- Plutocracy - I already told you, you're my true successor.
- Tetrarchy - You are considered small but still one.
- Authoritarianism - Grandpa!
- Illuminatism - You're me plus stealth.
- Kraterocracy - You're me plus power.
- İttihadism - Three pashas were epic.
- Banana Republicanism - My banana-obsessed son who got some success in Central America.
- Blanquism, Three Represents & Brezhnev Doctrine - The kinds of socialism that I like.
- Reactionary Liberalism - The Thermidorian convention and the Pareto principle are based.
- Timocracy - Hmm, I guess landlords can make good leaders.
- Technocracy - Great idea! We can pretend to be supposedly meritocratic and let those who are already rich, powerful, and who have had a privileged upbringing their entire lives keep holding onto power. That way we can just blame the proles for being too stupid to understand why we're in power and that we are simply the best qualified to rule. If they still resist, we can just laugh at them for their lower test scores since they are already too disadvantaged, and poor to both pass and afford
bribingtutoring to get our higher level of education and status.
- Meritocracy - The members of our cabal can be chosen based on merit.
- Sanationism - Respect to the Marshal!
- Diarchy - You are borderline monarchy.
- Illiberal Democracy - He likes me but hates it when I'm with him.
- Populism - Thanks for giving me power, moron.
- Helvetic Model - The Federal Council is great, but you refused to give it absolute power by having referendums where every pleb can vote.
- Democracy - Fool, claims to hate me yet nowadays he brings me to power and doesn't move a finger to clean me up.
- Aristocracy - You're pompous and foolish.
- Autocracy - You're an even more foolish and selfish prick who wants to rule alone instead of sharing power with other members of our cabal.
- Ochlocracy - This ideology doesn't exist.
- Anarchism - Neither does this one.
- Anti-Authoritarianism - Or this one.
- Illegalism - Don't resist, go back to work or you will be shot.
- Caesarism - How dare you make reforms that benefit only the lowly ple-
- Political Parties: A Sociological Study of Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy by Robert Michels
- The Ruling Class by Gaetano Mosca
- The Mind and Society: A Treatise on General Sociology by Vilfredo Pareto
- The Establishment
- Business Oligarch
- Collective leadership
- Directorial system
- The Boyars
- The Intractable Problem of Democracy and Elite Theory: Gaetono Mosca and Vilfredo Pareto by The Academic Agent
- Who is Going to Rule Russia After Putin? by Kings and Generals
Portraits and Artwork
- In October 1979, by the verdict of the Judicial Board of the Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court of the Armenian SSR, Tsarukyan was, with three others, convicted of gang rape and sentenced to imprisonment under Article 112 for 7 years and Article 144 for 4 years. He was also convicted of robbing the two victims. According to Article 37 of the Criminal Code of the Armenian SSR, Tsarukyan was sentenced to a combined total of 7 years in prison in a correctional labour colony.