Regime Types and their Levels of Democracy

Different governments use different types of governance. The system adopted seeks to favor the nation and its citizens, but in some cases, it is for the benefit of those in power. Among the most prominent of the regime types are anarchy, democracy, capitalism and communism. The mentioned regime types apply democracy to a certain extent variably. A further study of the above reveals which of the four regime types is the most democratic.


According to Marshall, anarchy is a situation where there is no government. This mostly applies after a country has suffered a civil war. The government has been overthrown, and rival groups are seeking to rise to power (Marshall, 2009). During this time, there appears to be a state of chaos and political disorder due to the absence of authorized governance. Individuals in this society enjoy complete freedom out of lack of any authority or established order. Some political analysts define it as the absence of publicly acknowledged power or enforced political authority. It practices absolute, direct democracy in some cases like where power establishment takes place in the presence of all citizens who chose to participate. The assembled people make decisions, and they through the assembly and the law courts order the complete political process, and are constantly and largely involved in public businesses.  Christopher Morris puts it as there is no individual obligation to obey the state, as the State has utterly any right to command individuals. Individuals are required to act in relation to their own judgment and are to allow fellow individuals the same freedom (Morris, 2002).

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Anarchism supports anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism provided it opposes compulsory government. The individualist group is in favor of negative liberty, which is, having social control over individuals and opposing the state while the collectivist group aim to achieve one is potential and recognizes equality of entitlement. Rather than starting a militia war or using arms to bring down the state, anarchists work for gradual change to free the individual from what they term as oppressive laws and social restrictions of the current state. The idea of the anarchists is to cause people to come together in agreement to form a functional society, which allows individuals to develop their own set of laws based on their own principles. Some term it as political and economic self-rule.

There is a neglect of the aspect of democracy where individuals differ about economic structures and possible laws that each group would like to prevail. The open nature of this regime makes it difficult for a consensus to come into place. Over time, disagreements may paralyze this form of governance from taking action. It requires a certain level of commitment to reach collective agreements, a principle that is seriously wanting in most states that have taken up this form of governance.


TR Jain in his book Economic Concepts and Methods views Capitalism as a state situation, where the economic system in a state is privately owned and operated for profit. The government has no control whatsoever over the markets and property (TR Jain). Income in a capitalist state is split between the business owners and their workers, the profit being sent to the owners. There is not much democracy per se, as most of the wealth belongs to private investors thus the owners get to make most of the major decisions. They possess the right to control property, determining how it is used and who uses it. They also have total rights over the revenue generated by the property.  Capitalism aims at wealth accumulation but only in the hands of a few. It gives equal opportunities to all individuals depending on their diligence and hard work to the state to be wealthy and a chance to growth. It is individualistic, that is, the individual is the center of capitalist endeavor. The society is full of individuals who seek to fulfill their own interests, and that, in democratic sense, persons in pursuit of their own interests, guarantee the interests of the society as a whole. As the individual accumulates wealth, the state exhibits a steady growth economically thus eventually proves to benefit all.

However, key decisions are dependent on business owners or those we would call the capitalists as they rather hold the economy of the State in their hands. The poor individuals do not respond in key decisions, as they are reliant on private or government supports. This is because they cannot meet the prevailing standard of living, and have to look up to the government while the business owners have steady incomes, which allow them to function with no need of support. This disregards democracy as the poor end up at the mercies of the wealthy and are most of the times exploited and underpaid. The benefits of capitalism are unequally distributed giving one group of people more advantage and authority over the other. The laws of capitalism disregards democracy in the sense that while democracy seeks to ensure that the regular citizen is satisfied with the governance, the capitalist laws are oppressive to the ordinary man and take action on the individual without his or her consent. It does not seek after the benefit of the ordinary citizen rather its main interests are wealth gain.


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Communism is another regime type contrary to capitalism. Unlike a capitalist system, where wealth is in the hands of a few individuals, in a communist country, capitalism entails wealth belonging to a collective group of people. This is to say that individuals have equal entitlement to property and wealthy. The government owns a majority of resources and has taken upon itself the responsibility of providing its citizen's health care, education and welfare. Usha Bhatt states that communism aims for a classless and stateless society build upon the foundation of common ownership of means of production. A convergence of the productive forces leads to a superabundance of wealth making it possible for distribution based on need (Bhatt). It aims to make decisions and come up with policies that are in the best interests of all members of the society, giving equal observance in the realistic decision-making procedure in all spheres of life, mainly the political and the economic sectors. In modern times, States with this regime have one-party system under centrally planned economies.

Communism seeks to achieve a free society with no separation, where its citizens are free from scarcity and oppression. However, it opposes a certain aspect of democracy, which calls for freedom of speech. The government decides on what people can have rather than what they want. Those in power tend to come up with rules that limit diversity weakening the strength of the system as a whole. Consumers' needs are also not taken into consideration, which is another highly vital aspect of democracy, which seeks for the interests of its subjects. The original idea of communism was that there should be a leader to guide the nation. However, this has not been the case as most leaders are too power-hungry thus desist from giving way to equality and end up holding the poor captive. Rather than everyone being equally rich, the society ends up equally poor besides the leader and those around him or her.


In a democratic State, government is elected by the people and is therefore, a representation of the majority. The citizens act as the government exercising unending authority on almost if not every sector of society. Everyone who is eligible to vote has a chance to give their opinion on which they prefer runs the country. The government therefore becomes the people's servant. All citizens have an equal say on matters that affect their lives. Max Lerner terms democracy as a rule by the majority. In an ideal situation, this refers to direct participation in the proposal, development and adoption of legislation into law (Lerner, 1943). Citizens in a democratic state experience a lot of freedom in the practice of political self-determination and many other sectors in the society. Among other privileges are the freedom of speech, debate and enquiry. Democracy is mainly concerned with equality and freedom, reflecting all citizens as being equal before the law and having equal admittance to the legislative processes; for example every vote has equal weight and no citizen are above the law regardless of their social class.

Individuals in a democratic state also have the capacity to participate in the life of their society unmonitored provided there is no interference with other people's rights. Citizens in a democratic state have the authority to re-elect those in power if they lose their confidence in them. This keeps the government in check always seeking to see that its subjects have confidence in their elected leaders. The opportunity to voice their opinions through the electoral votes gives the citizens a sense of belonging in their society. The dignity of man is recognized and respected, and people experience equal opportunities to become self-reliant. Democracy also ensures that every citizen has free access to the law to avoid case of injustice as it seeks to establish justice.

Of all the regime types, democracy appears to be the most democratic in that it provides the best representation and more freedom for its citizens than other regime types. Lawful rights and liberties, which are protected by a constitution, secure the freedom of its citizens. This type of regime is sensible and responsive to the wants and needs of its citizens. Since those in authority get there by elections where the majority rule has favor, the reigning authority feels grateful to its citizens and somehow feels obligated to prove its worth. It ends up outdoing itself in a bid to impress its citizens to be re-elected during the next term. Consequentially, it ends up meeting the needs and wants of its subjects.

Most of the other regime types seek to pursue the interests of their citizens though their focus is on wealth accumulation, meeting the needs of those in authority or enriching individuals in the society. Democracy however serves under the feet of its subjects and seeks to favor them no matter the cost. The rule by the majority allows citizens to leave as they please with all individuals having the same opportunity of becoming elected officials. This is contrary to some regime types like capitalism where only those in upper social classes stand a chance. Opportunities to economic growth present themselves equally to all individuals unlike in capitalism, where mostly one class of individuals remains to be the fortunate ones with all the resources in their control.

Democracy puts more of its efforts into seeing that the citizens have the ability to exercise their will in the political decision-making process. Political decisions are legitimized by majority rule, and every sector works in the interest of the individuals in a nation therefore proving its name as the most democratic type of regime.

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