What Are Examples of Autocracies?

Many Asian governments such as those of China, North Korea and Burma are autocracies. An autocracy is defined as a government ruled exclusively by a single individual or small group of individuals.

Governments that are ruled by dictators are typically viewed as autocracies because that single individual is ultimately responsible for all of the decisions made within the government. He may be assisted by a small group of advisers, but those advisers ultimately have no control over the final decision made by the ruler.

Autocratic rulers usually do not achieve their position through means of an election. They either take it by force, are born into a ruling family or are tapped by their predecessor to assume the role. Autocracy is considered the opposite of democracy and, until recently, was considered inferior to it as well. The recent economic rise of several autocratic countries, primarily China, has demonstrated that autocratic forms of government can be successful.

Still, most Western governments remain suspicious of autocratic rulers because, historically, they're aggressive when it comes to military endeavors and desensitized to the will of those people over whom they rule. It is also commonly held that autocratic governments are prone to corruption and violence.