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1. government by an individual with unrestricted authority
2. the unrestricted authority of such an individual
3. a country, society, etc., ruled by an autocrat
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


rule by one person, especially arbitrary or absolute rule. Compare ABSOLUTISM.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a form of government involving the unlimited and unchecked sovereignty of one individual in a state. The despotic monarchies of the ancient East, the tyrannical governments in some ancient Greek states, the Roman and Byzantine empires, and absolute monarchies of recent times were autocracies. The notion of autocracy was also used to designate unlimited authority in any given sphere of state activity. In contemporary literature, the notion of autocracy also designates political regimes characterized by the supreme power of a “leader” (Führer, duce, caudillo) who is not controlled by representative organs.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Based on this measure of food quality, autocracies outperform both democracies and hybrid regimes at low levels of income, in line with the Ballard-Rosa analysis and contrary to the B&K study.
One implication of our research is that the dominant form of corruption in anocracies might be extortion, while in autocracies mutually beneficial exchange.
Democracies channel funds to pro-democracy groups, or they demand that autocracies change their behavior.
The autocracies are particularly poorly prepared for a global economic crisis because they have weak domestic consumer markets and rely upon exports to survive.
Because autocratic governments have a vital interest in disputing liberal principles of interventionism, they will often resist efforts by the liberal international community to put pressure on other autocracies around the world.
(21) Conversely, because autocracies tend to be poor, the absence of regulation might simply reflect the absence of effective demand for it by an insignificant number of equity market participants.
For example, a number of countries (Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) have regressed from oligarchies to autocracies; and a number of democracies have regressed either to autocracies (Azerbaijan) or to oligarchies (Armenia and Georgia).
Consolidated autocracies exhibit self-enforcing rules and institutions that prevent protest and other activities aimed against the state.
Unlike dictatorships or autocracies, such regimes do not tolerate rivals to themselves, whether free unions, associations, the press, political parties or religion.
While populism in mature democracies has not led to the mass murders seen in autocracies, it has produced sporadic violence and policies that harm minority groups.
After all, Turkey does not boast the natural gas holdings that support other autocracies in regions not so far-off from these lands.
But it is also possible to establish democracies in relatively poor countries, whose subsequent economic track records are at least as strong as those of economically dynamic autocracies. And as they grow, democracies with low per-capita income do a better job than autocracies in providing for the basic needs and welfare of their people.