The oligarchy plato’s republic essay

The book The Republic is a summary of Socratic dialogues written by Plato. Theses dialogues presents Socratic and Plato’s views on important elements of the state: justice, man of honour, order in the city and state. Besides, dialogues demonstrate ancient perceptions of soul, immortality, the role of philosophy and poetry in the development of society. The Republic consists of 10 books. The eighth, ninth and tenth is a discussion of pros and cons of various existing political regimes and forms of government.
According to Socrates and Plato there are five forms of ruling: Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Aristocracy and Tyranny. All of them except aristocracy are forms of unjust state. Aristocracy, in accordance with the Plato’s words, is an ideal means of government. Philosopher king makes decisions based in his wisdom. All of his laws are reasonable and therefore just. Good example of timocracy is Sparta in times of both philosophers. This form of ruling envisages that only a man of honour of group of such people can command the state. Timocracy is the kind of government aristocracy degenerates into. Democracy is grounded on the notion of freedom which is the greatest good but it is slavery as well. This regime supports the poor and they become winners regardless their deeds. People are free to do what they want. This form of government is close to the definition of anarchy in Plato’s book. The least close to the ideal society form is a tyranny. Democracy degenerates in it when it becomes clear that discipline should control the freedom. Tyrant is a man with an extreme power. He is hated and feared by his nation.
Oligarchy is to some extent the mean between of all the regimes described by Plato in his book. The aristocracy is almost impossible. The timocracy is almost ideal. And the oligarchy is a degeneration of timocracy. The time is passing, and love of money and wealth increasing among those who gain power. Socrates defines this form as “ a government resting on a valuation of property, in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it” (Plato). The oligarchy faces problems because of the property and wealth issues. First of all, the distribution of political powers prevents poor but wise men influencing life of the society. They can observe changes but cannot participate in the political and social processes. Secondly, such system is instable. No one is insured of becoming poor because of wasting of losing his or her money or goods. On the other hand, the poor can become even poorer because of unjust labor conditions. This can lead to revolutionary mood among the poor. Finally, wars were ordinary things at that time. However, oligarchic regimes showed poor results because rich and experienced people were minor and they could not make a big army. They also did not provide the poor with weapon because they were afraid of revolution and change of governmental form or simply death.
As a result, this form of ruling is a paradox. On the one hand, the minority controls the majority and makes it to satisfy their needs. On the other hand, the rich are afraid of the poor because of their amount. Obviously, this regime cannot last long and degenerates into democracy, which is gained in case the revolution is successful.
Plato. The Republic. Trans. B. Jowett. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13 Sept. 2007. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.