What are the major types of political systems?

Throughout history, humans have created various types of political system from monarchy to republic to maintain law and order, protect themselves from foreign invasion and to have sound economic system. There are various type of political system with varying degree of success and having its own advantage and disadvantage. Differences in political systems is based on the way it provide services to its people, protect their rights and enforce rule of law upon them.

The major political system in the world are as follows:

1. Monarchy

A monarchy is a form of political system in which a single family rules from generation to generation through the lines of inheritance. It was common form of government in many of the agrarian societies. In the modern industrial societies however, monarchy lost its charm. Today some countries continue to have monarchy example Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In this form of political system legitimation, level of authority, power, succession, role and responsibilities was determined by historical factors, culture and
desires and preferences of the ruler.

2. Democracy

The historical trend in modern society is towards democracy. Democracy is a type of political system in which power rest in the hand of people as a whole. It is referred as government of the people, by the people and for the people. In a system of representative democracy authority is in the hands of the elected leaders who from time to time compete for office in elections. An ideal democratic political system is based on universal suffrage that allows its citizens to exercise adult franchise. The success of democratic political system depends on an enlightened electorate, politically conscious citizens who actively participate in the democratic process. The role of the elected representative is to frame the policies and programmes, formulate the budget and implement the programmes through a network of officials.

Democracy and rational-legal authority is closely associated in much the same way as the monarchy and the traditional authority are associated. However it is not necessary that most of the democratic nations would be democratic in real sense for the following reasons:

a. Bureaucracy

The problem with Indian bureaucracy is that it lack professionalism, there is rampant corruption and misuse of powers and this is adversely affecting the administration and the governance. People find Indian bureaucracy to be slow, tremendously rigid and mechanical and therefore not adaptive to change.

b. Economic Inequality

Rich people have far more political influence than the poor people. This is due to the fact, the rich, particularly the business tycoons fund the political parties campaign during elections. The 2019 election in India is said to be one of the most expensive election ever in Asia. India’s business tycoons have played very significant role ranging from funding the election, endorsing the political parties to being the topic of hot debates themselves. Niranjan TSahoo of ORF commented that this will lead to unstoppable corporate influence that can have detrimental effect on policies.

3. Authoritarianism

The concept of authoritarianism is opposite to democracy. Authoritarianism as a political system has strong central power and it denies people popular participation in government, political pluralism, and defence of civil liberties and is not accountable to the people. It may resort to unconstitutional means such as censorship, fear, and force. In the authoritarian form of government the power lies in the hand of a single leader or a small group of elite who are not constitutionally accountable to the people. Those in power consider themselves above the law.

The traditional authoritarian government had monopolistic control over the political life of its people by one party system that was organised around a strong leader or a military junta and direct rule by the executive, often through martial law with no role or some role of the parliament. Puddington (2017) discern that 21st century is marked by resurgence of authoritarian government in spite of economic instability and popular resistance. It has succeeded due to sophisticated strategies to repress any opposition by way of controlling the media, propaganda, creating illusion of political pluralism and suppressing civil society example Russia and China.

4. Totalitarianism

In totalitarian political system state is supreme than the individual. The state controls and regulates almost all the aspects of public and private life of its citizens. The totalitarian political system exercise total political, social and cultural control over its citizens and usually is ruled by charismatic ruler. It is a single mass party rule headed by a dictator who attempt to mobilize the people to support state ideology and does not tolerate any activities that is against the goals of the state. The totalitarian government makes use of various means of social control such as secret police, regulation and restriction of freedom of speech, control of mass media, use of surveillance equipment and so on example Vietnam and North Korea.

Although some totalitarian state claim to represent the view of the people but most seek to bend people to the will of the state. Such state as the name indicates have total concentration of power and do not allow any organised opposition. It denies its subject right to assemble for political purpose and control access to information. These government uses intimidation and terror to create fear in people. Socialization in totalitarian system is intensively political seeking not just compliance but personal commitment to the system.

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