Types of Government
Gully cricket is popular amongst young boys in India. They just troop into a street with little traffic outside their homes and start hitting the ball with the bat. Now, there are a number of ways in which this can be organized.
When only one boy brings a bat, he rules. He keeps batting even when he gets out and he lets his close friends also bat or as long as they want. If he wants to end the game, he simply walks away with the bat. Let’s call this the Bossy Bully system.
Sometimes all the cricket equipment – bat, ball, stump, gloves, etc is contributed by all. So each boy gets a good batting chance, a chance to wear the pads and gloves. Let’s call this the Just Friends system.
Sometimes there is a coach. In that case, the coach monitors and improves the game of each and every boy in his tutelage. But you don’t get to say whether you like the way he coaches. This can be the Big Brother system.
If we think of these teams as forms of government and of course you have to imagine that there are extremely many boys playing in the street, then the ‘bossy bully’ is a dictatorship; ‘just friends’ is a socialist government and or could even be a democracy depending on how you look at it; a ‘big brother’ is totalitarian and if one of the players owns the street where the boys are playing, it would be a monarchy.
There are 7 Types of Government
Modern governments are complex and are shaped by historical and political events like wars and colonialism. A democracy is governed of the people, by the people and for the people. Here citizens of the country can run for public office. This means the boys in the street get to decide who is in charge of what equipment is in the pile. Of course, each boy will nominate the person who best represents his interests.
Democratic elections could be city-wide for municipal governance, state-wide for state governance or nation-wide for central governance. When the population goes to vote, they vote for a candidate in their area. When the candidate wins, the political party he belongs to also wins. The party with maximum votes forms the government.
What happens here? People enjoy freedom.
In contrast, a dictatorship where a single individual has gained power through force and everyone has to follow his policies. He’s the big bully. The boys have little to no voice in such a system. Oftentimes the advisors who control the equipment kit are his close friends. Examples of dictators are Adolf Hitler in Germany and Fidel Castro of Cuba.
Sometimes you have what is known as a ‘benevolent dictatorship.’ This is when the dictator maintains his position as the head of the country for the sake of the country instead of self interest. Most dictatorships like to portray themselves in the international community as benevolent but it is not always so.
What happens here? Many people are unhappy in this system.
A monarchy is another form of government where there is one head of state. In this system a king or queen rules the country for as long as they are alive. The crown is inherited, usually by the first born of the family.
In earlier days, monarchs used to have absolute powers and owned all the public land. Pharaohs for example, claimed to be representatives of the Gods on earth. But nowadays, even democracies like Great Britain, Sweden, and Spain have kings who are nominal heads of state. Still it is their signature that turns a bill into a law.
What happens here? Things work well if the king is a good sportsman and cares about street cricket by choosing the right boys to be prefect of the equipment kit.
In countries where any religious institution holds power over the king, the form of government is called a theocracy. Several Islamic nations fall into this category.
What happens here? It’s like saying everyone must eat cucumber sandwiches for lunch every day.
There are totalitarian governments where a single group of friends have had control of the pile of equipment for decades. It is like dictatorship by a party instead of an individual. The regime maintains complete control of the country by not allowing any other people to form a political party.
They control all aspects of a citizen’s public and private life through art, science, and educational propaganda. The former Soviet Union and Vietnam are examples of totalitarian governments.
What happens here? It’s like having the same class prefect term after term.
Some nations are republics, such as the USA. It is a democratic model – people are elected to government office by voters. It is however, headed by a single individual whose office is also elected by the people – the President.
What happens here? This is nicer – everyone gets to be prefect for a while.
And finally, a country that is usually in the throes of a war or civil unrest and no functioning government is said to be in a state of anarchy.
What happens here? This is somewhat like the snack at someone’s place after a particularly gruelling game of street cricket– mum has a tough time cleaning up afterwards.
Ask your teacher to divide you into teams. The size of each team will depend on how many people are in the class, of course. Each team must pick a form of government and get to rule for the day. Discuss what happens in the classroom during the rule of each government. Is the room cleaner? Is the blackboard / whiteboard kept ready for the teacher’s use? Is there less bullying? Which rule is more fun for ALL?