Timocracy: Meaning, Definition & Features

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Timocracy – Meaning & Definition

The first thing we are going to do in order to fully understand the meaning of the term timocracy is to determine its etymological origin. In this sense, we can say that it is a word that derives from Greek since it is the result of the sum of several components of that language:

  • The noun “timé”, which can be translated as “value”.
  • The name “krátos”, which is synonymous with “government”.
  • The suffix “-cy“, which is used to refer to the “quality“.

Starting, therefore, from its structure we can say that timocracy is the government of which it has the courage.

timocracy is a government regime run by people who have a certain amount of money. To gain power, therefore, citizens must have a certain capital: otherwise, they do not have the possibility of participating in the government.

Timocracy: Meaning, Definition & Features


The concept developed in Ancient Greece. The statesman and legislator Solon (638BC – 558BC) proposed, in a Constitution designed for Athens, an oligarchy where each member could access a certain political role according to the number of bushels (a unit of measurement) that he could produce annually or as many yoke of oxen as he had.

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In this sense, citizens who did not have land or oxen were not entitled to hold elective public positions. In this way, Solon’s timocracy only allowed the exercise of political power to people with a minimal base of wealth, leaving out the rest of the inhabitants.

Today, most states are organized as democracies. This type of government assumes that the people rule through their representatives and that all citizens can run for public office. Those who come to power in this way are elected through popular vote.

Some thinkers, however, hold that many democracies are actually timocracies. Due to various circumstances, such as the time it takes to dedicate themselves to political activity or the cost of electoral campaigns, only members of the upper classes have the possibility of developing political careers. This is how those with the most money end up coming to power.

In addition to everything mentioned so far, we have to establish the existence of a book called “Timocracia300 traps with which companies and governments tease consumers”. It is a publication made by Rubén Sánchez and edited by FACUA-Consumidores en Acción.

Precisely this book starts from the idea, already wielded by some intellectuals, that we are living more than in a democracy in a timocracy. And he argues it based on a series of unique methods and traps that supposedly governments and companies put in place to get money from the ordinary citizen and power over them without them realizing it or being able to do anything to change it.

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Specifically, it comes to pose really daily situations and that come to make clear that presumed timocracy such as the high rates that exist in terms of supplies such as electricity and gas, the clauses that are established in telephone contracts.

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