Oligarchy as a word, derives from the Greek oligos and archos whose meaning refers to the first term as few and the second term to command or rule. This term can be associated with a dictatorship since in both there are quite clear similarities and differences with respect to democracy.
The small group of people that make up an oligarchy is not only characterized by its composite minority , but also, the economic power they wield is quite considered. In this sense, they manage important lands, large companies, properties, among others, which give them a basis when influencing in order to obtain political positions.
The oligarchy today
The term oligarch is currently generally used to define those who are considered large landowners, owners of multiple properties, millionaires, among others. This concept is handled among those who have a certain social status and whose influence can affect both from the cultural and political point of view.
At present, an oligarch can be called one who is capable of taking any action in order to maintain his economic and social position, even if this implies acting outside the law, through violence or corruption. These types of people often think that the power they wield is theirs by acquired right .
The corporate oligarchy refers to a small group of people who are usually grouped together in educational institutions, banks, among others. In many of these cases, the power they wield is such that they can even override the decisions of the national executive or the president of a country. These organizations are known as multinationals.
In ancient times, Plato pointed to the oligarchy as a degenerate form of the aristocracy . Previously, those people who were considered to have the best capacity to lead a society ruled. However, over time this definition was deformed and the oligarchy arose, giving way to demand power for being a descendant of the previous ruler.
It should be noted that this term of oligarchy has been seen throughout history, around the world. As civilizations evolve with it, their forms of government also evolve and it can be seen from ancient Europeans to African and indigenous civilizations where important decisions were made by that older person who considered himself wise.
Examples of Oligarchy
- In ancient Greece, during the call of the government of the Thirty Tyrants, made up of thirty magistrates during the 5th century BC.
- In the Italian Renaissance, the Florentine family of the Albizzi were the masters and powerful of the Republic of Florence.
- After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many took it upon themselves to deliver and sell it in parts. These were known as the “Russian Oligarchs”
- The United Arab Emirates is ruled entirely by billionaire families.
- In the People’s Republic of China, many powerful people are considered oligarchs.