Introduction 2. Clearly explain the notion of an authoritarian state. Give examples. This question is meant to clearly discuss the notion of an authoritarian state and to further elucidate the information with relevant examples. In response to this question, key concepts will be clearly defined which are; notion, authoritarian and state. Furthermore discuss what an authoritarian state entails.
This paper will start by defining the concepts, it will then outline and explain the characteristics of an authoritarian state, moreover it will clearly state and discuss the types of an authoritarian state. Furthermore this paper will show how an authoritarian state works in practice. Finally this paper will give an overview by concluding. DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
According to Livingstone, C. (2008), Oxford Mini Dictionary and Thesaurus, 2nd Edition, New York, Oxford University Press Inc., the term “notion” refers to an idea ;an understanding, “authoritarian” is explained to be demanding strict obedience, ”state” has been defined as political association sovereign across a geographic area and population. An authoritarian state is a state which enforces strong and sometimes oppressive measures against the population, political power is centralised.
In authoritarian states political authority is mainly concentrated in a small group of politicians or an individual, all power for making decisions, passing laws and conducting the business of the state is placed within them. CHARACTERISTICS OF AN AUTHORITARIAN STATE
Ball, A.R & Peters B.G (2005), Modern Politics & Government, Seventh Edition New York, Palgrave Macmillan stipulates that the autocratic system used within an authoritarian state give rise to difficulties of conceptualization. Furthermore an authoritarian state is often unstable and likely to change more rapidly as compared to others. Moreover this state is characterised by limitations on open political competition, the overt deployment of coercion, weakly supported civil liberties and lack of judicial independence.
Key factors that often generate authoritarian government in entire economies are lack of transparency and the absence of rules in the process of rent distributions which could originate from the fact that internal organizations of the government is de facto highly centralised. For example in Nigeria after the oil boom resource abundance tends to generate one party dominance.
An authoritarian state is characterized by submission to authority as well as the administration of said authority. Political power is centralized, and political authority is mainly concentrated in a small group or an individual. Power of decision making, determining policies, passing laws and conducting business of the state is placed within the small group of officials with legitimate political power. In the authoritarian state the leader is usually the expert and authority on a subject and often given the very position of authority on this basis.
The team members and the population follow the leader’s orders without deviating from his decisions. The people do not really have a say in the decision making, the decisions are never up for debate .In other words the leader has sole political power on what goes and what does not. Moreover political decisions made are private, that is they decisions are personalised thus being made by a select group of officials in secrecy. Political repression and the exclusion of potential threats are used as means to maintain highly concentrate and centralized power. Arguments or view points of the people are not taken into account. Within an authoritarian state, social and economic institutions not under government do exist.
There is low charisma thus a role of conception is held by the leader as an individual and the ends of power are private, which means the leaders are not at all objective that is it is personalised. Moreover corruption rates are high as there is limited pluralism, the absence of ideology and there is no legitimacy. Bureaucracy used within an authoritarian state is based on the suppression of two fundamental mitigations between state and society. Its regime which is not formalized is clearly identifiable. They sometimes operate independently of rules which do not properly supervise elected officials. It is a system of economic exclusion of the popular sector.
Access is limited to those who stand at the apex of large organizations, especially the armed forces, and certain segments of the state’s civil bureaucracy. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was an example of what happens in a self restrained dictation, in this case the leader recognises no moral limits to the exercise of power. Self restrained leaders also use repression at times to maintain law and order, but they typically stage elections, pay lip service to constitutional norms, and show a degree of tolerance towards religious beliefs and cultural differences. Egypt under Mubarak is a good example of what happens in the authoritarian state. In Egypt three of the past four leaders Nasset, Sadat and Mubarak were military commanders before becoming president.
TYPES OF AUTHORITARIAN STATE Ball, A.R & Peters B.G (2005), Modern Politics & Government, Seventh Edition New York, Palgrave Macmillan. Authoritarian regimes may be classified as follows; 1. CONSERVATIVE REGIMES: (a)Conservative dictatorships where the personality of the leader is important and there are few institutional forms of legitimacy. Malawi before recent attempts to create an effective democracy is an example of such regime. (b)Traditional monarchies, with traditional ruling groups and little political institutional infrastructure.
Example, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Nepal ,although all these have undertaken at least some efforts at creating more open institutions .In a monarchy a single ruler is appointed through birth right. This ruler has complete authority to move troops as he sees fit, levy taxes and make laws in the absence of the people’s consent. The king or queen also functions as the head of state negotiating treaties. England, Spain and France have used monarchy in their past. (c)Theocracies, revolutionary regimes that attempt to mobilize mass support.
All power is centralized in a group of religious figures or one religious leader. This individual or group of people act as both religious head for the nation and its head of state. Laws are imposed through interpretation of a holy text. Examples: The Pope functions as both head of Vatican and head of the Catholic faith, more can be drawn from the Islamic states such as Iran and previously Afghanistan. 2.Facade liberal democracies where are no competitive election but restrictions on opposition and limited civil liberties .Examples in this category could include Malaysia and Mexico.
(3) MILITARY REGIMES: (a)Direct military rule-the military has usually seized power in a coup, and there are no elections and there is poor level of economic development and often a marked degree of political instability. Examples are Pakistan, Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (b) Civilian military regimes. These portray far more political stability than those regimes with direct military rule, but the power relationship between the civilian and military within the government is difficult to assess, and subject to constant change. The best example of this type was Peru under President Fujimori, as well as Syria. (4)COMPRESIVE
Having both the formal institutional traits and the content of the governance. In theory the financial institutional traits can exist without content, but in this is seldom found in the real world. It is due to lack of legitimacy compels the state to adopt measures that will ensure its survival and minimize the likelihood of a takeover. These measures include curtailment of civil liberties and control of every aspect of people’s lives.
Example; The Japanese colonial government in 1910-1945 was a compressive authoritarian state which increasingly controlled Korea with an iron fist as Japanese effort in Asia escaled in the 1930s. Kim, M. Big Business; Strong state: Conclusion and conflict in South Korean Development, (1999) New York State University of New York Press Albany. (5)BUREUCRATIC SYSTEM
They are run by the military but rely heavily on experts in the field of economics and other policy areas, often allowing them significant autonomy to set and oversee government policy. Social scientists often call these officials as technocrats. Military leaders point to the technical expertise of these bureaucrats as key components of components of conditions to prevent opposition to economic reforms. Argentina from the mid 1960s to mid 1970s practiced bureaucratic authority. Hargopian M, N. (1984), Regimes, Movements and Ideologies: Introduction to Political Science, 2nd edition New York, Longman.
AUTHORITARIAN STATE IN PRACTICE Kim E, M. Big Business; Strong state: Conclusion and conflict in South Korean Development (1999), State New York, University of New York Press Albany says that an authoritarian state has been in existence in South Korea for some time. The Rhee regime was the first Republic in South Korea.
President Rhee was elected in an open and democratic election. However the Rhee regime began to exhibit contents of authoritarian governance towards the end of his term and was ousted by a popular uprising led by high school and college students in April 1960. According to the same book, the state used authoritarian means tin archive its economic goals through repression of labour. The state policies were intended to keep wages low, to limit and prohibit labour movements.
The lack of minimum-wage legislation prior to 1988 and the poor enforcement of laws relating to working conditions resulted in work exploitation. The police and the Korean Central Intelligence Agency were ordered to monitor and report labour activities and extensive force was used to prevent and control labour strikes. During the 1960s and 1970s there were several prominent cases in which underground labour leaders were prosecuted as pro-North Korean communist agitator. Conviction carried a maximum penalty of death.
Magstadt Thomas M. (2011), Understanding Politics, 9th edition, Boston Wadsworth Cengage Learning says that Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country and potentially one of its richest. Until very recently, however a succession of military rule squandered its vast oil resources, wasting a golden opportunity to diversify the oil dependent economy. In the process, corrupt and incompetent generals wrecked Nigeria’s public finances and plunged the vast majority of Nigerians into poverty. As recently as 2007, 70percent of Nigerians earned an equivalent of a dollar a day.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe became the Prime Minister of nee Black African government of Zimbabwe in 1980 and gradually gathered dictatorial power in his own hands. Today Zimbabwe is a failed country. He has presided over one of the worst and most corrupt governments in the world, while utterly mismanaging Zimbabwe’s post-colonial economy.
Under his despotic rule, the health and well being of the people has dropped dramatically, in natural results of widespread poverty, unemployment, mal-nutrition and the absence of medical care as well as a costly war with the Republic of the Congo which took place in (1990-2002). The government’s chaotic land reform program, which seized white owned farms with the avowed aim of redistributing the land, effectively destroyed the only functioning sector of the economy and turned Zimbabwe into a net importer of food. Mugabe’s response to the economic crisis he created was to print money to recover souring government deficits while stubbornly refusing to institute economic reforms.
In Tajikistan, internet freedom is limited. There were new and continuing government restrictions access to internet Web site on May 20 2010, the government restricted access to tarajon.com a web site created by religious leaders Akbar Turajonz and his brother Eshoni Nouriddin and Eshoni Mahmoudjon. The site was availability by proxy servers. In August the government formed a cybercrimes and communication unit of the Combating Organized Crime Department. One of its tasks is to monitor activity in internet cafes and electronic gaming centres.
CONCLUSION This paper has attempted to clearly explain the notion of an authoritarian state. The writer believes that an authoritarian state has its pros and cons as societies in an authoritarian states are known to be well disciplined and obedient .The management of the people is well coordinated, which makes the decision making method quicker on the other hand certain rights and freedom may be eliminated depending on how the authoritarian government administers its laws which is not at the advantage of the society.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (1)Ball, A.R & Peters B.G (2005), Modern Politics & Government, Seventh Edition New York, Palgrave Macmillan (2) Kim E, M. Big Business; Strong state: Conclusion and conflict in South Korean Development (1999), State New York, University of New York Press Albany (3) Hargopian M, N. (1984), Regimes, Movements and Ideologies: Introduction to Political Science, 2nd edition New York, Longman. (4) Livingstone C. (2008), Oxford Mini Dictionary and Thesaurus, 2nd Edition, New York, Oxford University Press Inc.,
(5) Magstadt Thomas M. (2011), Understanding Politics, 9th edition, Boston Wadsworth Cengage Learning