Sources of Nondemocratic Regimes

It goes without saying that, nondemocratic regimes are essential part of politics. To understand and compare the political systems , we need to know what they are and what can cause them. Yet, before talking about the sources, first, nondemocratic regimes must be defined. Nondemocratic regimes show a great variety, so it is hard to define it. Because of that scholars generally define it in the terms of restricted participation, deny their citizenships, limited liberty etc. The most common define of nondemocratic regimes is “controlled by a small group of individuals who exercise power over the state without being constitutionally responsible to the public.”(Pg. 144) Also, public do not have an important role in selecting or changing leaders and it causes “dictate” . In short, nondemocratic regimes are not advantage of public interests and belongs to individuals and small groups. Sources of nondemocratic regimes mainly are modernization, elites, society, and IR


In general, modernization seems leading to democracy in societies due to that with modernization, societies become more educated, sophisticated, wealthier and urban. In order to that they would demand more control over state to defend their interests. Yet, sometimes modernization results in nondemocratic regimes. Lack of institutions or destabilizing existing institutions can cause nondemocratic regimes. In addition, individuals which have economic power can desire to monopolize political power for their interest and owing to fact that “no middle class, no democracy” , it will end with nondemocratic rules.


When elites becomes wealthier and there is significant inequality in society , elites can not desire to distribute their powers due to fears of losing economic opportunities. For that, they choose to seek for control society and ways to enrich themselves. They can be side of the ones who gives them resources that are long.


Civil society is an organizations according to interests of people and away from political content. Also, it is in the side of democracy because of caring preferences, differences, liberty etc. Yet, if there is an absence of civil society, it generally leads to nondemocratic rule. Furthermore, it can be under the control of the groups such as ethnic or religious and they can help emergence of non democratic regime.


“Borders badly drawn by imperial powers have created many countries with ethnic and religious divisions that make consensus building difficult and authoritarianism an effective way to monopolize power over other groups. Imperial institutions, from infrastructure and education to state institutions, have similarly fostered authoritarianism by contributing to such things as uneven modernization and weak state autonomy and capacity. Finally, other states and international organizations may also support or sustain authoritarian control” (pg. 148)


Political culture has a significant place in sources of nondemocratic regimes. The idea of liberty or democracy can be unimportant according to norms and values of society. Or it can be easily said culture have a tendency for authoritarian regimes. To exemplify, Protestantism and idea of secularism developed the idea of individuality and state and authority started to be questioned more often. These factors were allowed for democratic regimes, so in some circumstances it can be opposite too.

To conclude, nondemocratic regimes bases on some factors such as modernization IR, society, culture or elites. Although these factors can cause democracy too, preconditions are vital of democracy. I hope, one day democracy will be in ever dingle country in whole world.


O’neil, Patrick H. Essentials of comparative politics. WW Norton & Company, 2007.