16 Pros and Cons of an Oligarchy 2024

Pros And Cons Of Oligarchy.

The term “Oligarchy” originates from the Greek word “oligarchic,” meaning few governing. An oligarchy is a power structure in which power rests among a small group. These people are distinguished mainly by wealth, nobility, corporate, religious, education, military, or political control. States, where families control such rulings pass their influence to the next generation.

The few ruling individuals use their power to create policies that favor them to the exclusions of society. History tells us that oligarchies rely on public oppression or obedience to exist. According to the “iron laws of oligarchy,” any society or organization will become an oligarchy at one point. That is if it learns how to be successful in society, thus gaining a competitive advantage. The more complicated this organization becomes, the more advantages it offers the elite.

Oligarchs will only associate with others with the same traits. The oligarchs are an organized minority; on the other hand, the citizens are the unorganized majority. It is challenging for the average citizen to enter into the group of these elite individuals. Below are the pros and cons that summarize the benefits and issues of an oligarchy.

Pros Of Oligarchy

1. Power Is Consolidated To Those With The Expertise.

An oligarchy aims to ensure that the individuals capable of making the best possible decisions are empowered to do so at any given time. It is inefficient for an organization or a government to allow every person to make decisions or have a say in any enforcement or decision that has to be made.

pros and cons of Oligarchy

Individuals are usually groomed within the oligarchy to take over certain positions in the government or organization. Mostly, they will spend many years learning their crafts before they are allowed to rule or given a specific position of power. This enables the government or organization to function correctly since the individuals already have enough training after those many years, hence capable of running the organization or government.

2. Minimizes Society Pressures.

Within an oligarchy, the citizens or the general citizens have the freedom to do whatever they feel like doing as long as it is within the law or legal action. Citizens can focus on finishing their projects with their innovative and creative talents. Instead of the average person focusing on educating themself on all the issues that are occurring to make an informed choice or vote, they can focus on family, career, or whatever they fancy.

Families can take their time and cultivate relationships with each other. If the oligarchy is operating correctly, it will take care of the state issues while the citizens take care of their loved ones and themselves. The political pressure is also minimized since there is no competition for government positions and not so much propaganda thus, the state will focus on growing its economy.

3. Anyone Is Allowed To Join An Oligarchy.

Under a true oligarchy, If you have the most significant skill level, you are given the most potential power available in the governing structure. However, most often, the noble class will try to consolidate these skills so that the position remains in their small group.

If the oligarchy is true, with the most excellent skills, you can join this ruling class as long as you have what society needs. This is a significant benefit since it means you can change your stars if you are willing to work hard, learn, and contribute towards society’s growth. To get this chance, you must be brave enough to come forward and demonstrate your outstanding skills in the education sector or during political rallies. Generally, the oligarchy must gain your trust to accept you in their group.

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4. An Oligarchy Is Not Biased On a Gender Basis.

Women and men will mainly serve equally in an oligarchy if they make the ruling class. If you are well informed in history, you will know that an oligarchy can support great kings and queens. In most cases, women are entitled to serve on the board of directors, but this characteristic is quite rare for most of the more prominent companies in the United States. It has been observed that any woman from a wealthy or powerful family will be allocated a dominant position in society for her. The drivers in an oligarchy are your say or your wealth but not gender. Whether you are a male or female, as long as you have cumulatively massive wealth, there is no doubt that you will be a top executive in that organization.

5. An Oligarchy Appreciates A Conservative Approach.

An oligarchy aims at maintaining a particular status quo. With an oligarchy, there is movement forward, but this is with a certain level of confidence that can only be achieved through experience. This is why those who are meant to run the oligarchy in the future are given thorough training for over decades to maintain this consistency.

The structure of an oligarchy helps to limit any risky decisions from being made since every voice from the small group will, without a doubt, have a certain degree of influence on the conversation. This increases the possibilities of the best possible way forward to be selected consistently. To add to the consistency, since the members of the oligarchy will be in power for quite a long time, they can monitor their state’s progress according to the previous decisions.

If the decisions made an incredible mark, that could be the path to follow. This cannot compare with an organization where a new member is being introduced often since decisions can have controversies due to the lack of previous experience.

6. Increase In Innovation.

Historically, some of the best artists took on trainees who turned out to be great artists, which was made possible by the structure of the oligarchy. It allowed people to concentrate on music, art, science, or any other skills they fancied. The oligarchy also taught people different skills according to their creativity which would later be passed to the next generation. Since the citizens will not have any worries about how to run the government or the organization, there will be adequate time to carry on with other activities. When society is focused on earning their daily income, the economy grows, and the state’s wealth will build up.

7. The Oligarchy Functions As  A Representative.

According to the structure of an oligarchy, the small group or several individuals are the ones in charge. How they will run the state or utilize their power has no restrictions. Mostly, those born in these families have their roles set and are just waiting to reach the ideal age to take on their roles.

However, some situations result in people being nominated or elected into their particular roles, which is not very common. In the early days, if you had money and extensive lands, you could join the ruling class. However, in the modern-day, being well-educated plays a crucial role if you are to break into an oligarchy. A small number of individuals take care of all the problems and issues of society, thus acting as a representative of the entire society and nation.

8. Motivation For Kindness.

According to the structure of an oligarchy, oligarchs are meant to rule or enforce their political power for their lives. This motivates them to rule society and their subjects with kindness. Since there are no democratic elections or short-term offices that can turn out to be messy, there is no good reason for the ruling group to dwell on finding solutions to short-term problems.

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If you compare this with states that embrace democracy, the politicians will spread propaganda and accuse their opponents of the poor decisions. They will then propose policies that will still not favor the average citizen since they know that they will be out of office when the citizens are suffering the consequences. On the contrary, oligarchs will not put on the blame, and the ruling group has the motivation to come up with long-term policies that are beneficial to society and will keep them happy.

Cons Of An Oligarchy.

1. Persistent Internal Bias.

Like other democratic organizations or governments, an oligarchy always meets occasionally to ascertain the way forward with the needs or the priorities of the citizens or society. The oligarchs will appoint individuals who are assigned specific activities deemed helpful and necessary for the best of society. If there are worries about theft, then one of the members of this oligarchy is appointed to take control of the issue.

pros and cons of Oligarchy

The bias is observed when the oligarchs are given the judiciary role, which means they can determine the penalties to be issued to the people found guilty of a particular crime. Moreover, an oligarch will name a crime according to what they think it should be and its penalty. The scary part is that if you scrutinize the oligarchy thoroughly, it can be considered a crime, and you will be surprised to find it punishable, just like other robberies.

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2. It Minimizes Diversity.

You can carry on with whatever activities you fancy, but this will happen at the expense of diversity. Remember that every decision running the society comes from these small groups of individuals or families. This results in still-growing morals and even values as time goes on. An oligarchy with too much power can go the extra mile and change the prices of commodities, change the demand and supply, and even become abusive to the average person or citizen.

The oligarchs might even offer selected benefits such as access to high-level education only to wealthy individuals or work for a minimum number of hours per day. They can inflate the prices of some services to make them only accessible to the wealthy or limit business with the average citizen.

Generally, since power rotates around the small individuals, the least is given to the much less fortunate. If the oligarchy is made up of good rulers, they can use their structure to help the oppressed, but if it is vice versa, they can harm the oppressed.

3. An Oligarchy Is Prone To Violence And Protests.

Suppose an oligarchy is to have control or remain in power. In that case, the average citizens or the oppressed must adhere to the set rules or demonstrate a particular level of obedience. If the citizens or the society bends the laws, then frustration is seen among the ruling class, who will try to restore order. Restoring order comes in handy with limiting the interests of society, which frustrates it. What will happen when both groups show their frustrations? The result is that both groups will end up crushing each other, leading to violence and protests. If it deteriorates, even war can begin.

4. Economic Dominance.

pros and cons of Oligarchy

The individuals or families controlling a state or society will compete with each other to control power, resources, or land. If this is the case, then they will be controlling all the state’s industrstate’s industrial sectors and, in turn, have or own most of these industries. An example is the El Salvador oligarchy during the half end of the 20th century. It dominated the coffee industry, and since this was the most significant export here, this oligarchy dominated the entire economy.

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5. An Oligarchy Can Be Established Anywhere.

According to what an oligarchy has been described to be, if you look clearly, you will notice that it is not limited to the government structures and sovereignty or family businesses. According to the description of an oligarchy, you can argue that the U.S. has also changed to an oligarchy. Statistics show that people who have earned a significant amount of income, in the top 1% since 1979, have grown their income by approximately 400% compared to the general population. More than half of that increase was registered by approximately one-tenth of this 1%. The individuals in this small group have the same social circles and maintain the same status quo
that is different from the other citizens.

6. Division Within The Society.

We cannot say that wealth is only for true oligarchy, but the point is that wealth in a society ruled by an oligarchy is reserved for the oligarchs; that is, they are the priority. However, it does not mean that you cannot become rich as an average person. The point is that the nobles are born surrounded by wealth, but as an average citizen, you have to work extra hard and beyond to improve your skills and get noticed. Generally, suppose you are born outside the oligarchy. In that case, you are the less privileged and have the most negligible chance of accumulating wealth due to the oligarchy’s structure, which means income inequality.

7. Disrupt The Economy.

An oligarchy aims to retain power other than progressing forward or building wealth. The only assurance that will make the oligarchs build wealth is if their power will not go away at any given time. If an oligarchy identifies a threat, be it natural or perceived, it tends to disrupt the economy to prevent the loss of power. Ideally, if a state’s economy is in a crisis, every citizen will focus on earning their basic needs instead of a change of leadership.

8. Does Not Result In Real Leaders.

An average oligarchy does not have strong leadership, and when the oligarchs accept that they are weak, they tend to strengthen their power by being more united. This direction will strengthen their ruling power but will come at a price. Since they will need allies, these allies can be more demanding, resulting in the oligarchy having zero control over the governing and just the title.


In conclusion, according to the pros of an oligarchy, it is clear that if it is structured correctly, then there are numerous advantages that the average citizen can get. However, if an oligarchy is not well organized, they tend to oppress the citizens more by ruining the economy and inflating prices to keep power for itself.

pros and cons of Oligarchy