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Exam focus – Keypoint on Basic Concepts of Government such as Democracy, Capitalism, Socialism, Oligarchy, Totalitarianism, Feudalism

What is Democracy
Democracy is the system of Government in which all qualified adult citizens share supreme power directly or through their elected representatives. It is also defined as the Government of the people, by the people and for the people.
What are the two main types of Democracy

  • Direct Democracy: This is where all citizens attend the assembly and take part in the decision- making in order to govern the state or the society.
  • Indirect or Representative Democracy: In this type of Democracy, the citizens through election select those who will represent and govern the state on their behalf.

What are the features of Democracy or factors that make a nation democratic

  • Regular and periodic elections.
  • The assertion of the principles of the rule of law in the constitution.
  • Majority rule in the country.
  • Respect for the rights and the minority groups.
  • Equality before the law.
  • Guaranteeing fundamental human right.
  • The absence of class feeling in the country.
  • The existence of a party system.
  • Free and fair election.
  • The existence of organized opposition to Government.
  • Equal political right to vote and be voted for.
  • Government actions must be open to public criticism.
  • No intimidation of voters during an election.
  • There must be an independent judiciary.
  • There must be an effective process o0f changing Government.
  • The application of the separation of powers.
  • There should be a free press.

What is Capitalism
Capitalism may be defined as a political cum economic system in which all or most of the production and distribution are owned and controlled by private individuals and in which the economic activity of the Government is at a minimum.
What are the characteristics of Capitalism

  • Private ownership and control of all means of production and distribution.
  • It has aristocratic structures.
  • Freedom of enterprises that permit private enterprises.
  • Freedom of choice to consumers, workers, owners of a property.
  • A competition which leads to the economic rivalry.
  • There are many producers as well as many buyers.
  • The profit motive is the guiding principles.
  • As a market economy, all productions are intended for market.
  • The use of an advanced technology for a high degree of productivity.
  • Production is carried out in different forms.
  • It has highly developed occupational specialization.
  • Labour is regarded as a marketable commodity.
  • Government plays a limited role in the production and distribution of goods and services.

What are the advantages of Capitalism

  • Capitalism is self-regulating.
  • It guaranteed maximum freedom of enterprises.
  • It encourages hard work.
  • Capitalism encourages faster economic development.
  • It provides the people with alternative choice.
  • It brings about an increase in qualities of goods produced.
  • It encourages economic competition.
  • The system leads to invention and innovation.
  • Capitalism leads to specialization in production.
  • Capitalism creates room for the effective use of talents.
  • It helps a country to be self-reliant.

What are the disadvantages of Capitalism

  • It encourages few rich individuals.
  • Capitalism leads to individual or private monopoly.
  • It leads to an inequitable distribution of income.
  • It gives room for the exploitation of many people by few individuals.
  • Profits are made at all cost even at the expenses of human life.
  • It encourages and leads to an increase in acquisitive tendencies.
  • The unhealthy rivalry is another disadvantage of capitalism.
  • Its grab- grab nature leads to an increase in crime rate.
  • It creates an atmosphere of job insecurity- unemployment.
  • Capitalism encourages an oligarchic form of Government.
  • It is a self-functioning system which has no regulative measures.
  • Capitalism leads to man’s inhumanity to man.

What is Socialism
Socialism may be defined as a political cum economic system in which all or a large part of the means of production and distribution are collectively owned by the state (Government).
What are the features of Socialism

  • State (Government) ownership and control of all or a large portion of the means of production and distribution.
  • It is democratic in nature.
  • The absence of economic rivalry.
  • Goods and services are not produced mainly to yield profits but to satisfy the needs of the citizens.
  • Equitable distribution of income.
  • Labour is nor a marketable commodity.
  • Non- market economy.
  • No price competition.
  • All factors of production are fully employed.
  • Private firms play little or no role in production and distribution.

What are the advantages of Socialism

  • Socialism leads to an equitable distribution of resources.
  • It caters for the interest of all citizens.
  • It bridges the gap between the rich and the poor.
  • Socialism creates no room for hoarding.
  • More goods are made available to citizens.
  • It acts as a unifying factor among those who participate in economic activities in a country.
  • Economy rivalry especially unhealthy one is virtually absent.
  • Socialism guarantees the rule of law in the country.
  • Socialism gives the citizens a sense of belonging.
  • It makes for the stability of Government.
  • It wipes away economic exploitation of many by few economic desperadoes.
  • The private monopoly is prevented in the socialist system.
  • Socialism ensures job security.
  • Socialism is democratic in nature.

What are the disadvantages of Socialism

  • Socialism suppresses individual initiatives.
  • It makes people lazy and unenterprising.
  • Socialism is not self-regulating and self-functioning.
  • It does not encourages faster and economic development.
  • The system does not provide the people with alternative choices.
  • The absence of economic competition lowers to qualities of goods.
  • Socialism does not encourage specialization.
  • It leads to a state monopoly which gives rise to inefficiency.
  • The system does not encourage invention and innovation because of the absence of competition.

What is Oligarchy
This is Government ruled by a few privileged and powerful people.
What are the forms of Oligarchy

  • Aristocracy: This is the form of oligarchy Government ruled by few persons of the highest social rank known as the nobles.
  • Plutocracy: This refers to Government controlled by a few rich and powerful group.
  • Military Rule: This is Government controlled by men in khaki uniforms called soldiers.
  • Theocracy: This is a form of Government controlled by the priest or priestly class.

What is Communism
This is an economic system and a system of Government in which the means of production and distribution are totally controlled by the state (Government).
What are the features of Communism

  • Total ownership of means of production and distribution by the state.
  • The absence of classes- classless society.
  • The use of force in achieving communist goals
  • One- party dominance in the communist state.
  • Authoritarian and totalitarian Government.
  • Compulsory confiscation if private properties without compensation.
  • Distribution of resources to citizens according to their needs and ability.
  • Centrally planned economy.
  • A society must go through revolutionary stages before attaining the level or stage of communism.

What is Totalitarianism
This is a form of Government in which one supreme authority controls everything and where there is no form of opposition.
What are the features of Totalitarianism

  • A supreme authority that controls everything.
  • The absence of all forms of opposition.
  • The existence of one dominates political party.
  • State control of mass media.
  • The use of force and terror in enforcing the will of the State.
  • An arbitrary system of Government.
  • The absence of the rule of the existence of a single ideology and philosophy.
  • Suppression of individual initiatives.
  • Censorship of information outlets and cultural activities.

What is Fascism
This is the philosophy, principle and organization of the aggressive nationalist and anti-communist dictatorship.
What are the features of Fascism

  • Fascism encourages aggressive nationalism.
  • It is an anti- communist movement.
  • Fascism condemn both capitalism and socialism.
  • It glorifies wars which according to fascist will eventually lead to peace.
  • Fascism repudiates peace and fascists say that to have an everlasting peace, there must be war.
  • It rejects the principle of the rule of law.
  • It denounces Democracy.
  • The Government controls all industrial activities.
  • It rejects popular views.
  • It rejects the law of God and religion in its entirety.

What is Feudalism
This is a primitive system of Government and economic system based mainly on the hierarchical order of ownership of land.
What are the features of Feudalism

  • It is based mainly on the hierarchical order of ownership of land.
  • Ownership of land is vested in the king or monarch or emperor.
  • Land users hold land in return for the service they render to their lords of kings.
  • Land owners or lords are duty –bound to protect the land users or serf.
  • The system is characterized by a close personal bond between the lords and the serfs.
  • Only a vassal of the land could receive a fief.
  • The feudal tenants vow to give military service to the owner of the land.
  • The vassal keeps possession of land as long as he performs his feudal duties.
  • The land goes back to the lord when the vassal dies.

What is Communalism
This refers to a system of collective ownership of property and co-operation among members of a community in the execution of development projects.
What are the features of Communalism

  • Collective ownership of property.
  • Co-operation among members in the execution of development projects.
  • The system is most common in communal societies.
  • No member of the communal society is allowed to own private land.
  • It discourages members from pursuing individual objectives.
  • Members of communal society have blood relationship.
  • There exists a high degree of cohesion among the members.
  • Members of communal society share common culture and identity.
  • Every member comes to each other’s aid.
  • Communalism was common in pre-colonial era.

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