What are two types of oligarchies?

A. Theocracy and monarchy.

B. Dictatorship and theocracy.

C. Communism and dictatorship.

D. Theocracy and communism.

The answer is D: Theocracy and communism. To learn why D is the correct answer, first, you need to know what an oligarchy is? The oligarchy is defined as the structure of power ruled by different small groups of people.

Using the elimination method, A is not correct because the monarchy has only one ruler, i.e. king or queen; B and C are also not the correct answer because dictatorship again means one person rule, i.e. by the dictator.

That means D is the correct answer as theocracy means the priests rule the land in the name of Lord, and everything including government is shared, in communism.

Oligarchy is a power structure in which the power lies with a small group of people.

What is oligarchy?

Oligarchy comes from the Greek language, and it means few to rule or command. Oligarchy is a power structure in which the power lies with a small group of people. This small group may be distinguished by nobility, aristocrats, wealth or family ties.

If a small group of people take over a country, hold power in a country, then it is known as an Oligarchy. Often such governments are selfish, corrupt and tyrannical as the leader’s try to benefit themselves and their family versus the good the of the country.

Causes of oligarchy

Oligarchies may emerge in nations due to the following reasons:

1-An oligarchy can result in a country where the existing leaders decide to increase their power, irrespective of the act being good or bad for the country.

2-Oligarchs thirst for power and wealth and any amount isn’t enough. They believe in taking this power and wealth from people whose skills and interest do not equal to the leader’s skill and wealth.

3-Ill-informed citizens can also give rise to an oligarchy. When the citizens are not informed, nor do they try to keep abreast of the happenings in the country then, they give up power to make decisions to those whom they think to know much more than the common citizens, to rule.

More often the people who take over as leaders aren’t as informed as they project themselves to be. However, this perception of the common citizens not understanding or knowing things while the leader knowing much more leads to oligarchy.

4-If a government made of monarchs or tyrants has a weak leader, then it can be making for an oligarchy. This is fairly simple to achieve. If a leader is weak, then oligarchs can gain more power and influence over him, so that if and when that leader is out of office, they can replace him with a puppet or one of their own to rule the country.

Types of oligarchies

An oligarchy can be of different types depending on the basis of the ruling.


The aristocracy is a government ruled by a small class that is often privileged, like hereditary nobility. They are considered to be superior to others due to their intellect, wealth or rank.

In an Aristocracy, the leaders are in power as they are believed to be best qualified to rule and lead due to certain characteristic they possess. Aristocrats may be from the upper crust or the elite society.

Band Society Oligarchy

The government is formed by a small unit, like a family unit. The hierarchy is semiformal, resembling packs among animals. All the power is in the hands of a few family members and in no way means that future generations will inherit the power.

A band society is usually politically stable and has a small legislature. There are more security, individualism and adaptability.


This is when a particular ethnic group rules a nation. The political regime uses a group that is very dominant in order to get more power and resources. Sometimes the rule is by the majority ethnic group, but it doesn’t always hold true.


A government run by geniuses is known as a Geniocracy. There is a focus on creative intelligence and problem-solving. A hypothetical type of government where intelligence and compassion are the two main characteristics of leaders is indicative of a geniocracy.


Gerontocracy has been around since the 1800s and involves rule by an elderly person. A nation ruled by a council of old people is gerontocracy. A good example is how the Greeks ruled, with a council of older persons.


When judges rule a nation it is a kritarchy. It is also known as a dikastocracy. This type of rule existed in Israel when the rulers were judges. The laws are not statutory but more customary, and Somalia is a good example.


Netocracy originated when catholic popes would assign their illegitimate sons, whom they called their nephews, to powerful positions in the government. This happened so that the church would continue to have power and own lands.


In a plutocracy, the country is run by rich citizens. The leader is chosen only if he has wealth. It doesn’t refer to any political philosophy as it simply means a country being run by the wealthy.


In this system, there is a casting of lots to choose the leader. Also known as allotment or demarchy, where the leader is chosen from a larger group, randomly. It was common in ancient Athens and can also be seen in democracies at times.


In a theocracy, a deity is where the authority comes from. A specific deity or religion determines power. Religious leaders in positions of authority lead the nation in a theocracy.

They can be ruled through the hierarchy of religion or through separate government arms, that includes governmental administrators and members of the clergy.


A theocracy is clearly a form of oligarchy as only a few people hold power and are considered as knowledgeable enough to lead. In many communist countries, the past has seen leaders like Marx, Lenin and Stalin.

These leaders and a small group of people around them held the power of ruling. As such communism is very closely related to Oligarchy.


  1. About Origin of Oligarchy: Retrieved from britannica.com
  2. Types of Oligarchy: Retrieved from cs.mcgill.ca
  3. Different causes and pros and cons of Oligarchy: Retrieved from vittana.org


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here