Politics > Spiral of Political Maturation > Review Political Maturation > Authoritarian Stasis

Authoritarian Stasis

Regime Power

All societies commence with regimes built on primitive pluralism—because politics in that ethos directly corresponds to the existing structure of society's powerful organized groups. This power structure is understood and accepted or endured by most.

Paths to get social benefit attempted by Authoritarian governments in Stage 1 Pluralism

The dominant elites may be traditional (e.g. monarchy, priesthood, officialdom, military) or modern (e.g. single political party, central committees, powerful military, secret police.) The preoccupation of these political classes is always to increase State power and avoid loss of power which, it is feared, would release chaos and violence.

So they resist pressures for a transition to the legitimist mode—labelled (A) in the diagram. This result leads to authoritarianism even if the government claims to rule a democracy and uphold human rights. Authoritarianism is compatible with elections and with a multi-party system. However, the rule of law and the separation of powers (both crucial to the legitimist mode) are typically weak.

Authoritarian governments are concerned to maintain the support of the people, to manage dissent and protest, and to enable some development. In doing so, they have three options that are political in nature.

Regime Options

Examples: North Korea; Burma (till recently).

Example: Thailand.

Example: Vietnam at the start of the 21st century.

Examples: Hitler's Germany dispensed with elections once Hitler was elected. China currently seems to be trying to combine Methods Y & Z since Deng replaced Mao.

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 11-April 2014.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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