Political Systems: About Economic and Political Systems

The present site aspires to be a short but encompassing description of different political systems. There are many ways to define what a political system is, including a group of institutions such as political parties or other organizations, the members within any of those institutions can be considered themselves a political systems. Here, however, we are going to focus on economic and political systems as form of government. In a very general manner, any political system can be pigeonholed in a category in between two opposite ends of a spectrum that goes from left (communism) to right (fascism). The political system of Germany during the third reich, for instance, was a fascist dictatorship.

Some systems enjoyed a period of supremacy, sometimes a lengthy one, before fading and becoming part of history books, or went on to maintain a purely nominal status. Feudalism for example, part of a class of economic and political systems, lasted over 500 hundred years, but it became extinct in the 15th century. Monarchy, on the other hand, still exists to this very day, but it has been abolished in all but name, with kings, queens and princes being a sort of ornamental figures, still delighting in the life of leisure they have always been accustomed to, without any real powers or duties beyond those of protocol. The only states that still retain an acting monarch are Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, and arguably Vatican City. Arguably because the Vatican is actually a theocracy.

Although some monarchies were held by the grace of God, in theocracy a deity is recognized as the actual ruler, who has to obviously be represented by a human agent that is allegedly guided by the divinity. The Vatican is a formally recognized state, headed by the pope. As opposed to kings, popes are elected monarchs (albeit elected by cardinals and not by citizens of the Vatican), since in good theory they should not leave succession. This type of government may seem anachronistic to some, and even some states, like the USA political system, have supported the principle of separation of church and state. Ironically, one of the USA political system’s greatest allies, the state of Israel, is sometimes accused of being a theocracy, although this is debatable.

One of the oldest forms of government, that differs in many aspects from monarchy and theocracy, is democracy. One of those differences is that the civil ruler is elected by the majority of the people through a voting system. Also, the president is not an absolute ruler, having to rely and answer to judicial, executive and legislative branches. Furthermore, a president only serves for a limited amount of time, and for life. When this happens, the political system becomes a dictatorship, and the ruler a dictator or autocrat, though he or she may choose to continue to use the title of president, as did Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Cuba, by the way, is one of the states where the political system of communism is still the ruling government form. Communism has come into conflict with democracy and capitalism and monarchy many times. This illustrates how while some systems share some common ground like socialism and communism, others are mutually exclusive, such as monarchy and republic. It is the purpose of this website look a bit deeper into several political systems and compare and contrast them in order to find out have they have affected our current world and its many societies.