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Ancient Greek κάκιστος(kákistos, worst), superlative of κακός(kakós, bad) +‎ -κρατία(-kratía, power, rule, government).



kakistocracy ‎(plural kakistocracies)

  1. Government under the control of a nation's worst or least-qualified citizens.
    • 1894, James Russell Lowell, Letters of James Russell Lowell - To Joel Benton [1876], p.159:
      Is ours a "government of the people, by the people, for the people," or a kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?
    • 1999, Gang Deng, The Premodern Chinese Economy: Structural Equilibrium and Capitalist Sterility:
      Thus, the problem was not whether corruption/power abuse was allowed, but how to keep a balance between uprightness and kakistocracy.
    • 2000, Tom H. Hastings, Ecology of War and Peace: Counting the Cost of Conflict:
      Some nation-states have suffered what the Greeks called kakistocracy—government by the worst of men. International law can, in theory if not always in practice, keep these kakistocracies from damaging too much.
    • 2016 November 18, Jamelle Bouie, “Government by the Worst Men”, in Slate[1]:
      As we step into this world—as we enter the age of kakistocracy—we should remember one thing. This isn’t a departure from Trump’s populism. It’s the foundation of it. This is what Trump campaigned on.

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