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Types of Government Systems
Aristotle was the first to define three principal types of government systems in the fourth century B.C. These consisted of monarchy, aristocracy and polity. Since then, many more have been formulated, but the main themes and ideas have remained. Today, the five most common government systems include democracy, republic, monarchy, communism and dictatorship. This list details what to know about each.

Five Types of Government Systems

  1. Democracy
    A democracy can be defined as a government system with supreme power placed in the hands of the people. It can be traced back to as early as the fifth century B.C. In fact, the word democracy is Greek for “people power”. While most use the United States as an example of a democratic government system, the United States actually has what is called a representative democracy. The difference lies in the method of civilian participation. In a direct democracy, every citizen is given an equal say in the government. In a representative democracy, citizens elect representatives who make the law. The difference is significant when put into action. Other examples of democratic states include Aruba, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
  2. Republic
    In a republic government system, the power also rests with the people, as they are in charge of electing or choosing the country’s leader, instead of the leader being appointed or inheriting power. Broadly defined, a republic is a government system without a monarch. A republic may be governed by a group of nobles, as long as there is not a single monarch. Some examples of countries with a republic government system include Argentina, Bolivia, Czech Republic and France.
  3. Monarchy
    In a monarchy, state power is held by a single family that inherits rule from one generation to the next. In a monarchy, an individual from the royal family holds the position of power until they die. Today, the majority of monarchy governments have transitioned to constitutional monarchies, where the monarch is head of state but only performs ceremonial roles and does not have state power. Only a few countries still have systems where the monarch retains control; these include Brunei, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland.
  4. Communism
    A communist government system is usually based on a particular ideology of communism taught by Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin. A single party or group of people usually runs communist states. In some cases, citizens of a communist state are given certain jobs or life duties in an effort to obtain collective citizenship for the state. Examples of communist states include China, Cuba and Vietnam.
  5. Dictatorship
    In a dictatorship, a single person, a dictator, has absolute power over the state. It is not necessarily ruled by a theology or belief. It is an authoritarian form of government where one person is in charge of enforcing and enacting the law. Aspects often include military organizational backing, unfair elections (if any) and various human rights violations. A dictator does not usually inherit their power like a monarch does; they either seize control of the state by force or through (usually unfair) elections. Dictators are not held accountable for their actions and thus are free to do as they please, including limiting citizens’ rights. Burundi, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and North Korea are contemporary examples of countries run by a dictator.

While these types of government systems all vary, they have at least one similarity: the allocation of power. Whether it be the allocation of power to a single person, a group of people, or evenly distributed to everyone, power is the shared theme of all types of government systems.

– Haley Hine
Photo: Flickr

What Causes Poverty in San Marino?

San Marino, which is said to be the world’s oldest republic, is a tiny country landlocked by Italy. At only 23.6 square miles, San Marino is the fifth smallest country in the world, only larger than Vatican City, Monaco, Nauru and Tuvalu. It is also one of the richest countries in the world, with an estimated 2016 GDP per capita of $59,500. Despite its wealthy status, the 2008 recession, from which the country is still recovering, has significantly increased poverty in San Marino.

San Marino‘s main economic activities are tourism, banking and the manufacture and export of different goods such as clothing, ceramics, fabric, wine and spirits. As it is surrounded by Italy, most of San Marino’s economic sectors are highly supported by this nation; in fact, 90 percent of San Marino’s export market is supported by Italy. As Italy also suffered from the 2008 recession, its demand for imports from San Marino has lessened, which has in turn weakened San Marino’s economy.

After the recession, San Marino’s strong economy took a downward turn. Unemployment – which had been at its lowest in 2007 at three percent – jumped to 4.5 percent by 2009 and reached its peak of 9.2 percent in 2015. While poverty is not a major issue in San Marino compared to many other countries, the recession certainly caused a notable increase.

Although San Marino’s poverty rate is low enough that it is not necessarily significant enough to be recorded, it is likely that such a rapid increase in unemployment led to hardship for a significant portion of San Marino’s population. Increases in unemployment cause greater stress for the individual and strain the government, as it puts more pressure on the government to support those who are unemployed. Additionally, it weakens the economy further, as those who are unemployed lose purchasing power. Since San Marino’s peak unemployment in 2015, unemployment has started to drop, with the unemployment rate in 2016 at 8.6 percent.

Although the recession caused an increase in poverty, the government of San Marino has been working to curb the effects of the recession by eliminating its status as a tax haven. As other countries have bounced back from the recession, demand for goods from San Marino has increased as well. Hopefully, as more countries start recovering, this will also help San Marino’s economy recover so that progress can be made regarding its poverty rate.

Mary Kate Luft

Photo: Flickr

Doctors Without Borders and Measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo
There has been a threat from measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2010. Three months ago, the disease reached epidemic levels. Although much is being done to combat the spread of measles, tens of thousands of people are still affected.

Over the past year, Doctors Without Borders has inoculated nearly half a million children against measles, having to treat nearly 20,000 for the disease itself. Mortality rates can vary from 15 to 25 percent; the manager of a medical team “counted 35 dead in one village…traveling from village to village, we hear just one word: measles.”

Perhaps the most awful thing about measles outbreaks is that the disease itself is extremely treatable. Vaccines can be purchased for a pittance, but the problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo lies in getting the medicine to those who need it. Without modern infrastructure extending navigable roads to many villages, the vaccine cannot always be kept cold in transit. One health center “has only two refrigerators and one broken motorcycle to serve an area half the size of Switzerland.”

Doctors Without Borders put out the alert back in December, hoping that increased attention to the epidemic would bring more donations, and therefore more treatment. Tens of thousands of lives can be saved for barely a few dollars each. The only thing standing between those who are suffering and their good health is the vacillation of foreign donors.

Jake Simon

Source: Doctors Without Borders