What are the Forms of Management in Plato?June 28, 2021
According to Plato, the ideal form of government, the ideal state, is the state in which the leaders are the best and ruled by the best. In such a state, rulers must be philosophers or philosophers must be rulers. Plato emphasizes monarchy and aristocracy as the two best forms of government in existence.
If there is a person who rules the state, it is the monarchy, if there is a group that rules the state, it is the aristocracy. Aristocracy means rule of the best. All other forms of government are corrupt according to Plato. Plato also determines the forms of government by establishing a parallelism between a single human being and these forms.
The aristocratic form of government corresponds to the man of the aristocracy, and since such a man is the best and fairest man, the rule in which such people lead will be the best and fairest government. After that, Plato says that there are four corrupt forms of government. Glory calls the form of government ruled by honor-loving people timocracy or timarchy. He calls oligarchy the form of government in which people who love money and have a passion for wealth.
The oligarchy state is a state based on income supremacy. Democracy is a form of government in which people who advocate equality and those elected by popular vote lead. A form of government in which the head is a tyrant is also tyranny. Plato says that each of these forms of government arose from the other. He says that with the deterioration of one form of government, another form of government is passed. Accordingly, timocracy from the aristocracy, oligarchy with the corruption of timocracy, democracy with the corruption of the oligarchy, and tyranny with the corruption of democracy. Therefore, according to Plato, the change in management styles is related to the change of the rulers and what kind of people they are.
According to Plato, the ideal form of government is monarchy in which the leader is the philosopher. He says that there can be no ideal government unless there is a philosopher who governs the state.
According to Plato, the best forms of government are monarchy or aristocracy. Corrupt forms of government are timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny.
The deterioration of the forms of government is like this: When the aristocracy, which is dominated by those who have wisdom and virtue, turns into a fondness for glory and honor, timocracy, which is the form of government in which such people lead, emerges. As a result of the transformation of the passion for glory into the passion for wealth, an oligarchy based on the superiority of income emerges. In oligarchy, society is divided into two poles, the rich and the poor. With the increase in the number of poor and unhappy people, civil war becomes inevitable, and when the poor in large numbers win this war, democracy, which is the rule of the majority, emerges. In democracy, every citizen can enter the state administration. In such a state, everyone is free, everyone can do what they want. It seems to be the best of orders, but it has no particular order because there is the freedom of the heap, of the majority. It is this passion for freedom and equality that turns democracy into tyranny. When the rulers of the people cannot meet the demands of the people, the people blame them and when there is turmoil in the society, tyranny arises from democracy. Democracy’s excessive demand for freedom thus breeds slavery. That’s why Plato says extreme freedom means slavery. Plato also sees democracy in corrupt forms of government, because the leaders in democracy are the ignorant majority. In such an administration, the whole of society cannot be happy and there cannot be a fair social order. If the aim of the state is to make people happy, since this is possible only through virtue, democracy cannot achieve this. Because the leaders do what is in their own interests instead of doing just and right things for the sake of gaining the support of the people.
Plato, in his work called Laws, emphasizes the issue of rule in accordance with the laws, instead of giving importance to the characteristics of those who are at the top. The reason for this is that it is impossible to find a person who will rule the society without injustice, so he considers it necessary to make laws. Accordingly, states should be governed by laws. Those who govern the state must govern the state in accordance with the law.
With all these thoughts, Plato dealt with the nature and purpose of the state in the history of Political Philosophy and brought philosophical explanations to these problems.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook