Classical Literature Companion : oligarchy Top Home Literature & Language oligarchia , ` rule of the few ' the oligarchs . Stuttgart : Steiner , 2000 ISBN 3-515-07680-8 . oligarchic ol ' i gar ' chic or ol ' i gar ' chi cal adj . Look up oligarchy in Wiktionary , the free dictionary . -- Baron de Montesquieu 1689-1755 , French lawyer and political philosopher . Political Dictionary : oligarchy Top Home History , Politics & Society Political Dictionary Government by the few . Columbia Encyclopedia : oligarchy Top Home Miscellaneous l ' g rk Gr. , = rule by the few , rule by a few members of a community or group . In practice , however , almost all governments , whatever their form , are run by a small minority of members . Link : Graduates Versus Oligarchs Posted February 28 , 2006 . When referring to governments , the classical definition of oligarchy , as given for example by Aristotle , is of government by a few , usually the rich , for their own advantage . For example , aristocracy is a form of government by the few .
Conceptualizing Oligarchy Across Organizational Forms , Sociological Theory , Volume 23 , Number 3 , September 2005 , pp . At the time Michels formulated his Law , he was an anarcho-syndicalist . Michels formulated the `` Iron Law of Oligarchy '' : `` Who says organization , says oligarchy . '' IngentaConnect ^ Robert Struble , Jr. , Treatise on Twelve Lights , , chapter seven , `` Rotation in Office '' . Finally , from birth , people are taught to obey those in positions of authority . argues , however , that a rapid rotation in office can mitigate , or even nullify , the `` iron law '' in the legislatures/parliaments of large nations . Leaders have access to , and control over , information and facilities that are not available to the rank-and-file . Iron law of oligarchy From Wikipedia , the free encyclopedia Jump to : navigation , search The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory , first developed by the German syndicalist sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book , Political Parties . Bureaucracy , by design , promotes the centralization of power in the hands of those at the top of the organization . Studying political parties , he concluded that the problem lay in the very nature of organizations . Reasons Michels stressed several factors that underlie the Iron Law of Oligarchy .
On the local level , there can be boards of supervisors , boards of education , boards of selectmen , etc. . Is representative democracy , then , a truly democratic process ? Not exactly , but , as they say , `` Democracy is the worst form of government , except for all the rest . '' On the federal level , there can be a parliament , senate and/or house of representatives . On the state level , there can be legislatures and representatives . Unfortunately , life has not been so utopian , and in many places and eras , power has been held by what have been called tyrants and despots , feudal lords and egomaniacs who sat in power because of `` divine right to rule . '' Indeed , it is a great a concept , one held by the majority of enlightened cultures that have appeared in the past 2,500 or so years . Yet , what is held on this planet at this time to be a democratic government is , upon inspection , in reality an oligarchy , with a small percentage of citizens establishing and enforcing policy . So , in these systems of representative democracy , citizens ostensibly elect people to fairly represent their individual opinions . Indeed , he can not , and this form of government is not really a democracy in its highest ideal . So , knowing this , these venerated minds have consistently set about first planning such a government and then finding a way to execute it .
Oligarchy is a form of government where most political power effectively rests with a small segment of society . Unlike plutocracy , oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth , as oligarchs can simply be a privileged cadre . Here , the basic characteristics of oligarchy are particularly easy to observe , since the South African form of oligarchy was based on racism . In contrast to aristocracy , this power may not always be exercised openly , the oligarchs preferring to remain `` the power behind the throne '' , exerting control through economic means . After the Boer War , a tacit agreement was reached between English - and Afrikaans - speaking whites . The word oligarchy is from the Greek for `` few '' and `` rule '' . These two regions are namely , Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba . Asim - anon42677 11 Nigeria is a practical example of an Oligarchy in modern society if Nigeria . As English society continued to grow and develop , the Magna Carta was repeatedly revised , guaranteeing greater rights to greater numbers of people , thus setting the stage for British constitutional monarchy . Oligarchies may also become instruments of transformation , insisting that monarchs or dictators share power , thereby opening the door to power-sharing by other elements of society .
Cite This Source Link To oligarchy Monarchy Collection Largest selection of Monarchy , Affliction , Sinful . www.SolisCompany.com ol i gar chy l' - g r ` k , ` l - n. pl . ol' i gar ` chic , ol' i gar ` chi cal adj . Origin : 1570 -- 80 ; Gk oligarch a. See olig - , - archy Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary , Random House , Inc. 2009 . Dictionary.com ol i gar chy dictionary.reference.com/audio.html/lunaWAV/O00/O0081400 '' target = '' _ blank '' ol - i-gahr-kee Show IPA Use oligarchy in a Sentence See web results for oligarchy See images of oligarchy -- noun , plural - chies . Word Origin & History oligarchy 1577 , from M. Fr . ol i gar chies Government by a few , especially by a small faction of persons or families . oligarkhia `` government by the few , '' from oligoi `` few , small , little '' + arkhein `` to rule . '' The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language , Fourth Edition Copyright 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company .
Oligarchy for Kids - rule by a few rich guys Oligarchy Chinese aristocrats Oligarchy means the rule of the few , and those few are generally the people who are richer and more powerful than the others , what you might call the aristocrats or the nobles . So oligarchies are generally bad for the poor , but they are pretty good for women , at least for rich women from powerful families . The Roman Republic , which started around 500 BC , was in some ways an oligarchy too . Right after the Dark Ages , most of the city-states in Greece were oligarchies , between about 1000 and about 500 BC . Some were more like democracies , but others were more oligarchic .