Sample English Paper on Authoritarian Regimes

Authoritarian Regimes

Authoritarianism represents a government structure offering sturdy and centralized power. Authoritarian regimes are often marked by limited political freedoms that affect the expression of views and opinions. However, rights and freedoms are accorded to certain individuals but only apply during specific times. The authoritarian government structure has no legal or constitutional accountability for the actions taken by its officials. In such cases, the rule of law shifts to the desire and demands of the government. The regimes utilizing authoritarianism are in most cases autocratic or the government can decide to spread power across specific institutions or people. The authoritarian regimes are marked by stability, prompt decision-making processes, clear governance structures, defiance, and decisiveness. Nonetheless, authoritarian regimes are less likely to survive in the future due to dwindling oil prices and compounded economic problems that threaten political stability.

Strengths of Authoritarian Regimes

Authoritarian regimes are stable and yield desired results. Weeks (2012) outlines that authoritarian leaders work to create solutions that benefit everyone in the working groups because success is ultimately credited to them. This means that services are provided to people in the most effective way as the authoritarian leader can shift government structures and official depending on the prevailing needs of its people. Weeks (2012) reaffirms that in such cases, directions issued by leaders and officials are measured based on the desirable results achieved over time. The authoritarian regimes are therefore stable because leaders enforce decisions and policies even if they arouse fear as they are aware that all credit will be directed towards the country’s leadership essential in sustaining pursued agenda.

Authoritarian regimes promptly execute and implement decision because they operate from a centralized power. The centralized system accords decision-making responsibility to a sole person or a group of lawmakers (Weeks, 2012). Since there are few individuals involved in the process of making laws and policies, ideas are clearly and promptly implemented devoid of bureaucratic interference. The leaders do not have to consult others when developing decisions (Weeks, 2012). This is an exceptional and critically important attribute during emergency situations. Authoritarian regimes, therefore, do not influenced by bureaucrats who may want to delay a government’s actions.

Authoritarian regimes enforce a clear hierarchy that prevents people from hijacking the government for personal and self-interested reasons. The hierarchy clarifies the one person or groups that are in charge of operations. Unlike in the United States government that retains three levels of government each accorded power to overrule the other, authoritarian regimes use their leaders to achieve balance within the society. The clear structure curtails the opportunities that other politicians may utilize to seize power for personal reasons (Weeks, 2012).  The supreme leader has the final say regarding issues even if advisors voice their contrary opinions.

Weaknesses of Authoritarian Regimes

The regimes project an image of strength which can invite rebellion in the society. For example, the way authoritarian regimes handled the corona virus in 2020 demonstrated a feeble response that jeopardized the response to the pandemic. Carothers and Wong (2020) reports that the president of Belarus dismissed the spread of the coronavirus in his country while Tanzania’s president discontinued the publication figures of coronavirus cases and claimed that the country had conquered the virus through prayer. Such acts can invite rebellion from the general population who believe they have limited actions to change government decisions. These citizens can resort to criticism that may degenerate into protests and demonstrations. Authoritarian regimes are always quick to take credit when outcomes are good but shift blames if plans go wrong.

Authoritarian regimes are hostile towards independent voices and civil society and rights group which impair societal morale. Authoritarian regimes in Russia, Algeria, Thailand and Azerbaijan have passed laws that criminalize criticism against government activities (Way, 2016). As such, the autocratic government punishes individuals or groups that do not align to the government’s account of events regarding the political, social, and economic state of a country. The crackdowns of independent voices impeded effective responses to political and economic issues in authoritarian marked with weak state capabilities such those in Africa and the Middle East (Way, 2016). The average person feels that their efforts are unproductive and their contributions do not make practical impacts to the country. The loss in morale may end up dividing societies which may create anarchy if not checked.

Survival of Authoritarian Regimes

Authoritarian regimes are likely not to endure in the coming three decades due to falling oil prices. In the past, authoritarian leaders were seen as decisive, bold, defiant, and outplayed local and international opponents (Gill, 2016). Authoritarian states seen as capable of fostering rapid economic growth more that the struggling democratic states.  However, it is apparent that a combination of political and economic pressure is exposing the weaknesses of these regimes together with their leaders. The falling oil prices and China’s sluggish economy has shaken democracies and authoritarian stakes alike. Notably, the lower oil price is threatening regimes such as Algeria that depended on the commodity for political survival and stability. The dip in oil prices in the future sets the stage for the collapse authoritarian regimes.

Authoritarian regimes are poised to collapse due to lacking freedoms of speech and censored media that are vital in identifying economic problems and recommend remedies. Authoritarian regimes are less likely to survive in the future because do not accommodate vast levels of widespread frustration and dissent (Kern & Hainmueller, 2009). Autocrats have always looked good in boom economic times but look vulnerable and helpless when the economy declines due to unfavorable business conditions. Authoritarian rulers, investors, and citizens are aware that an economic decline may lead to political instability that may further exacerbate governance problems within autocratic states. The Chinese Communist Party, for instance, that often engage in massive social production to accelerate its industrial growth is terrified about the mass unemployment and the consequences resulting to its bloated state business entities. As democracies instituted austerity measures during the financial crisis of 2009, China pumped it economy with debt-supported infrastructure spending that significantly inflated its stock market bubble (Way, 2016).  Since the bubble began deflating, Communist Party is executing hasty decisions threatens to devalue its currency in an attempt to improve its export business. Unfortunately, the media is censored and nothing is reported concerning the failing economy. As a result, the general frustration and dissent will set it, and it is just a matter of time before the Chinese regime collapses.


Authoritarian regimes have in the past flourished under bold, decisive, and defiant leaders. The regime grants opportunities to the leaders to establish stable structures of governance that yield desired results. The goal of authoritarian regimes is to assign certain responsibilities to people who will accomplish the goals while the government takes credit for their efforts. The regimes also eliminate bureaucracy that may slow down the process of developing decision. In this way, authoritarian regimes respond promptly to emergencies. However, authoritarian regimes exhibit weakness with regard to hostility towards independent voices and demonstration of unnecessary strength that may invite rebellion from its citizens. Indeed, the decision to punish independent voices and failure to acknowledge the efforts of its citizen may disintegrate societies. Notably, the survival of authoritarian regimes is in doubt due to dwindling oil prices and crackdown on independent voices that can identify economic problems within the states. The economic problems currently witnessed in authoritarian states are likely to create political instability signaling the collapse of these regimes.





Carothers, T., & Wong, D. (2020). Authoritarian weaknesses and the pandemic. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved from

Gill, G. (2016). Russia and the vulnerability of electoral authoritarianism? Slavic Review, 75(2), 354-373.

Kern, H., & Hainmueller, J. (2009). Opium for the Masses: How Foreign Media Can Stabilize Authoritarian Regimes. Political Analysis, 17(4), 377-399.

Way, L. (2016). The Authoritarian threat: Weaknesses of autocracy promotion. Journal of Democracy, (1), 64-75.

Weeks, J. (2012). Strongmen and straw men: Authoritarian regimes and the initiation of international conflict. The American Political Science Review, 106(2), 326-347.