19 Basic Concepts Of Government

Table Of Contents
                    
1. Power
2. Authority
3. Legitimacy
4. Sovereignty
5. Political culture
6. Political socialization
7. Democracy
8. Capitalism
9. Socialism
10. Oligarchy
11. Mixed economy
12. Communism
13. Totalitarianism
14. Fascism
15. Nazism
16. Feudalism
17. Communalism
18. Authoritarianism
19. Aristocracy

Power

Power may be define as the ability to control the action of others through the possession of means of sanctions. By exercising power, others may be forced to change their action against their will and to compel obedience on their part. Sanction which may be physical, social or political is an instrument of power which is used to influence the action of others. Sanction is applied when there is non compliance.

Authority
   
Authority may be define as the power or right to give orders and enforce obedience. Authority therefore gives one the right to command others to obey as a duty. The lower of authority is derived from one’s official and the role the person plays in a given society. Authority which is on many occasion derived from the consent of the people commands respect, influence and confidence. Authority vested on certain individuals through the consent of the people serves as a test of a government’s popularity.

That is why even the military government tries legitimize its authority by seeking the consent of the people. In a democratic society, the electorate constitutes the source of power and political authority.

Legitimacy

The term legitimacy is derived from a Latin word “legitimus” and it means lawful or according to law. Therefore, legitimacy means a situation of being lawful. It may also be said that legitimacy is the general acceptance of the political system as the most appropriate and being In line with the laws of the land. This means acceptance of a political system or an administration because it is in compliance with the land down rules and regulations.

Therefore, a legitimacy government is one that is constitutionally elected and is acceptable to the populace.

Sovereignty

Sovereignty may be define as the absolute power of the state to exercise supreme legal authority over its own affairs within its territory without any form of external control. A sovereign state therefore has absolute power to make and enforce laws within its territory without any external influence. The person or a body of persons exercising the power of state sovereign. It was a French political philosopher Jean Bodin (1530_1596) who introduce modern theory of sovereignty into political theory and later developed by  notable political scientist such as: Hobbes, Locke, Grotius, Rousseau, Dicey, Bentham, John Austin, etc.

Political Culture

Political culture may be define as the attitudes, sentiment, beliefs; ideals and norms that guide the behaviour of the people in a political system. Political culture therefore embraces such things as the history of the political system adopted, people’s reactions to election, method of electing their representative, etc. While the advanced nation like USA, USSR, UK, etc. Have established political culture, those of the developing nation are in their rudimentary levels.
  
Political Socialization

Political socialization refers to a person by which the citizens are educated on the values, attitudes and beliefs of the political system. Through political socialization on the citizens internalise the political culture of the nation. Political culture of the society is transmitted from one generation to another through political socialization. Through effective political socialization, the citizens of a country are made to be aware of the political system, the role they are expected to play in the system, raise their loyalty, pride, patriotism and nationalistic feelings to the nation.

Democracy

Democracy may be define as a system of government in which all qualified adult citizens share the supreme power directly or through their elected representatives. “Democracy is a system of government based on popular consent. It is a government which is derived from public opinion and is accountable to it”

Abraham Lincoln, whose definition of democracy has become axiomatic define it as “the government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. The term democracy has in another occasion been described as “government by consent of the governed” I.e. government with that approval of the people being governed. The fusion of two Greek words demos (people) and Kratia (rule or government) gave birth to the word democracy. Democracy system of government therefore started in ancient Greek cit states. Such government is representative of all peoples and interests within the state and is described as open government because, it permit s freedom of speech and ideals.

Democracy allows the people to choose and reject their programmes when such are no longer serving the interest of the people. Democracy is regarded as the best form of government that can be adopted in a country.

Capitalism

Capitalism may be define as a political cum economic system in which all or most means of production and distribution are owned and controlled by private individual and in which the economic activity of the government is at a minimum.

In this type of economic system, private individual play greater role than the government  in taking decisions on what, how to produced. Private individuals who have the economic wherewithal, participate its in all  sectors of the economy.

In the real sense, the pure market capitalist economy characterised by the private ownership of all the means of production and distribution does not really exist.

Nearly all the so- called first world or developed nations of the word such as Japan, north American, Israel, etc. Adopted the free or capitalist political cum economic system. In these countries, profit is the main motive for either the private or the state participation in the production of goods and services. Resources are allocated according to price signals In These  capitalist countries.

Socialism

Socialism may be define as a political cum economic system in which all or a large part of the means of production and distribution are collectively owned controlled by the state (the government). In this political system, all the non human materials of production and distribution are controlled and operated by the government on behalf of the citizens.

Productive firm or public  corporations that produce the goods service used in the country are owned by the government. Goods and services are produced with the sole aim of satisfying the wants of the whole citizens of the country as opposed to the profits they will fetch.

Citizens in a socialist country work collectively for the advancement of the country and the government on the other hands, caters for every citizen. Goods and services are produced according to individual’s contributions and wants.

Private ownership of means of production and distribution and accumulation of wealth are virtually non existent in a centrally – planned or socialist economic system. Countries that practice this type of economic system otherwise known as the second world include soviet union,  Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, China, Cube, Romania, Albania, Poland, They Germany is based on the central planning of all economic activities as opposed to the capitalist market price mechanism. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was the founder of modern socialism.

In Africa, countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Angola, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mozambique have experimented and some are still experimenting various shades of socialism.

Karl Marx’s collaborator in developing modern socialism was his friend Friedrich Engels (1820-1895). Vildmir Lenin led his Bolshevik faction of the Russian social – Democratic party(now styled the communist party of Russian)to Carry out the first socialist Revolution in the world in 1917 in the defunct Union of soviet socialist Republics(USSR).

Oligarchy

Definition: Oligarchy may be define as government ruled by privileged and powerful people. This form of government is a selfish one because, such a government rules only for the benefit of those few people in power.

Mixed Economy

A mixed economy combines some feature of capitalist and socialist economies. It is an economic system in which private (capitalist) and public (socialist) ownership of the factors of production and distribution are combined. Both private individuals and government participate extensively in the regulation, management and supervision of economic activities In mixed economy.

Communism

Communism may be define as an economic system and a system of government in which the means of production and distribution are totally controlled by the state(government). Communism is the highest stage of socialism. Individual ownership of property is completely abolished In a communist state. The state owns everything and the resources are distributed to the citizens according to their needs and ability. The theory and principles of Communism enunciated by Karl Marx and Lenin are embodied published in 1848.

No country has attained the level of communism but countries like countries like soviet Union, China, Poland, Cuba, etc. Who are practising advanced socialism are aspiring to reach a communist stage.

Totalitarianism

Definition: Totalitarianism may be define as a form of government in which one supreme is authority controls everything and where there is no for opposition. This single authority in which all power are vested tends to possess answer to all questions and solutions to all problems.

Totalitarianism also known as authoritarianism allow only one political party controlled by the state to exist. In a totalitarian or authoritarian state, citizens are the property authoritarian state, mass media are under state control and laws are made for favour the whims and caprices of the rulers. Citizens obey the rulers blindly at  the expense of their fundamental human rights. Examples of totalitarian regimes include; Nazist government in Germany, fascist government in Italy and communist government in the defunct USSR Under Joseph Stalin.

Fascism
 
Definition: Fascism may be define as the philosophy, principal and organization of the aggressive nationalist and anti – communist dictatorship. Fascist movement was started in Italy 1922 and dissolved in 1943 under Benito Mussolini. Fascism condemn both capitalism and socialism and also repudiates peace, democracy, rule of law, etc. And glorifies war.

Nazism

Nazism is a brand of totalitarianism practised in Germany under Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. Nazism as a political ideology beliefs in “idealism” and the superiority of the German race rather an individual. It believed in a “national being based on a unity of blood.”. The state had control on all citizens, activities and personal liberties while the leadership is always right.

Feudalism

This is a primitive system of government and economic system based mainly on hierarchical order of ownership of land. In this system of government which was practised in Western Europe in the middle ages, ownership of land was vested in the king or Monarch or Emperor who also controlled all land users. The land owners sublet the land to their subjects who must in return render services like work for certain days for the land owners, fight on his behalf, etc.

This system of government called feudalism which is a form of decentralized oligarchy based on land ownership was also practised in Asia and Africa.

Industrialisation which brought with it capital that replaced land as essential factor of commercial activities brought about the collapse of feudalism. As a result, capital instead of land, therefore, became a source of power. Capitalists rather than feudalist became the most influential people in the society and rulers. Te old relationship that existed between land owners and serfs changed to that of capitalists and proletariat (labourers).

Communalism

Communalism refers to a system of collective ownership of property and co-operation among members of a community in the execution of development projects. In a common goal collectively. Properties like land are owned collectively and shared among members on equal basis. This system of government called communalism was more predominant in the pre-colonial era.

Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism is a system in which authority of ruler is set above liberty of the citizens. It is a dictatorial system in which the subjects are compelled to submit blindly to the whims and caprices of the ruler. In this system, the citizens’ rights and reedoms are limited.

Aristocracy

Aristocracy is government by the best and most qualified people in the state, or by those seen as superior citizens to whom people look upon for leadership. It is government by the privileged few i.e the nobility.

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