The Descent Of A Regime From A To An Oligarchy

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To understand the descent of a regime from a timocracy to an oligarchy, first the tenets of a timocracy must be understood. A timocracy first comes into being due to human error of the guardians. The guardians are not perfect, so when choosing the next generation of guardians to educate, they will not always choose the best candidates. Since the current guardians will not always select the children with gold souls, the aristocracy will eventually degenerate into a less just society. Some new rulers will attempt to preserve the old and just ways, while the less benevolent rulers will want private property among guardians, creating tension in the ruling class. Eventually, this tension will be alleviated by “coming to an agreement on a middle…show more content…
Men will start to “pervert the laws in that direction,” that direction being for profit (550d11). Wealth is then equated to honor, and naturally things deemed honorable are those that citizens seek to achieve. A change is made in the city’s fundamental governing doctrine; the change states that only those with a certain amount of wealth can rule the city. This is the birth of the oligarchic regime. Only citizens of a certain economic status have any political power. Those who have the political power then wish to keep the power, and will abuse their lawmaking ability to oppress the poor. Rulers will do whatever they can to keep the poor where they are, so that the lower class cannot replace the current rulers as lawmakers. The factions of rich and poor create a city doomed to fail.
All the problems of the oligarchy can be traced back to equating wealth to honor and the descent from timocracy to the oligarchy itself. Socrates notes 5 distinct problems of the oligarchy, the first being the distribution of political power. Due to the standard of wealth required in the city, a wise, just, and virtuous man could not become a ruler if he is poor. If a true philosopher-king existed, but was poor, he could not rule the city. This inevitably will lead to more injustice and harm done to the city, for those who are unfit to rule are the only ones with political power. If wealth was never
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