Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oligarchy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Oligarchy (Greek Ὀλιγαρχία, Oligarkhía) is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family or military powers). The word oligarchy is from the Greek words for "few" (ὀλίγον óligon) and "rule" (ἄρχω arkho). Compare with autocracy (rule by one person) and democracy (rule by the majority).

Oligarchy, aristocracy, and plutocracy

Historically, many oligarchies openly gave the political power to a minority group, sometimes arguing that this was an aristocracy ("organization by the 'best' and the 'brightest'"). Such states were often controlled by powerful families whose children were raised and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy. However, this power may also not be exercised openly, the oligarchs preferring to remain "the power behind the throne", exerting control through economic means. Although Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group.

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3 Citizens in Connecticut took time out of their lives to represent all of the rest of you against the onslaught of judicial corruption [more]

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