Plato described five types of governmental regime:
Wikipedia has an extensive list of systems, but the most common in novels are democracy, monarchy and republic. It’s sometimes difficult to fit a regime into one of these governments. In regard to worldbuilding for a novel, try to embrace less common or overused regimes.
- Autocracy and Despotism
Rule by a single powerful being. Neither are held accountable to any legal restraint or to the people. Despots are the nastier version – they apparently take slaves rather than servants. Also Dictatorship and Facism.
Rule by honour. Now this I would love to see. A group of honourable people are selected according to the level of honour they hold in society. Sparta is a good example. Also Aristocracy (the Elite), Geniocracy (the Intelligent), Kratocracy (the Strong), Meritocracy (Meritorious – I did try saying that 5 times fast) and Technocracy (the Techxperts).
Wiki expounds on various different forms of monarchy (most I’d never even heard of). Monarchs act as the head of state and inherit their position via blood. Ancient Egypt is an example.
- Rule by people who probably shouldn’t.
i.e. Bankocracy. Rule by banks. (Because, why?) Corporations and thieves turn up here, as does Kakistocracy (the Stupid).
An authority that regulates every element of the people’s lives, both public and private. These are usually overthrown by the protagonist as their good intentions (or not-so-good) suppress the populace.
Good old democracy, born in the heart of Athens. No explanation necessary, I hope.
Segregated, powerful and influential people. More interesting versions are Ergatocracy (the Workers), Kritarchy (the Judges), Theocracy (the Church) and Kritarchy (the Judges).
For a long list of regimes, take a look at The Phrontistery. Again to emphasise the apparent theme of this worldbuilding series; relevance. Make sure that there are reasons for this particular person or group taking power, or reasons why honour or intelligence or magic are so highly revered.
Any particular favourites you can add?