An oligarchy is a form of government where power rests within a specific family or group. Military control over a government would be considered an oligarchy, as would a royal family having ruling powers.
Here are some of the pros and cons that are associated with this form of government.
List of Oligarchy Pros
1. Power is consolidated in the most experienced individuals.
The goal of an oligarchy is to ensure that the people who can make the best possible decisions have the power to do so at any given time. It is not efficient for a government to let every person have a say in every decision that must be made.
2. It allows people to be focused on what they do.
People can focus on pursuing their own goals within an oligarchy. Instead of needing to educate themselves on every issue that occurs to make an informed vote or choice, they can focus on a career, their family, or whatever else suits their fancy.
3. Innovation can thrive.
Because a delegated few are making the choices for the society, people can focus on innovation. That innovation may be directed toward the needs of the oligarchy first, but it is still a way to embrace personal creativity that other government forms may not offer.
List of Oligarchy Cons
1. Most are structured on wealth.
An oligarchy can be structured on virtually anything, but most governments that use this format focus on wealth. If you have lands, cash, or property, then you can be in the noble class. From there, you can influence the oligarchy. Everyone else manages with whatever they can earn.
2. It creates societal divisions.
Expertise can only grow if real experience is earned. Because the oligarchy is based on experts being in charge, their knowledge base is consolidated to their specific class to prevent “outsiders” from having any influence.
3. It decreases diversity.
Although people can pursue their own interests in an oligarchy, it is done at the expense of diversity. Every decision tends to come from a singular perspective, which creates stagnant growth, values, and even morals over time. If too much power is given to the oligarchy, it may even be able to fix prices, change supply and demand, or become abusive to certain classes of people.
An oligarchy often comes from systems of tyranny. As power consolidates around the few, less is given to the many. Good rulers can use this structure to the advantage of all. Poor rulers can cause harm with little societal response.