Interest Group

Páginas: 14 (3298 palabras) Publicado: 16 de abril de 2012
Interest Group Role in a Democratic Society?
Interest groups are private organizations that try to shape
public policy. They are made up of individuals or other
organizations that share an interest that they are trying to
protect or advance with the help of government. Interest
groups are often called pressure groups or lobbies.
Interest Group Role in a Democratic Society?
Interestgroups are usually regarded as narrowly self- interested, out for themselves, and without regard for the public good. The danger to good government from special interest groups is a familiar theme in American politics.James Madison developed this theme in The Federalist (No. 10) where he discusses factions (his term for interest groups). Although Madison worried about factions, he believed that theywere inevitable in a free society, in which people have diverse interests based on economic circumstances, property ownership, occupation, and region.
Trying to eliminate factions would require tyranny. The only way to control factions, Madison believed, was to organize constitutional government in a way that moderates the bad effects of factions and to have a society that would be so large thatno single faction could dominate public life. Factions can neither be eliminated nor made to serve the public good, he said, but their bad effects can be controlled.
This theme of selfish special interests recurs throughout American history, from President Andrew Jackson's attack on the Bank of the United States to the Progressive Era muckrakers who attacked the unholy alliance of trusts,lobbyists, and corrupt public officials. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ralph Nader and other consumer advocates revived the theme of selfish interests as a central focus of their successful effort to increase the regulatory role of the government.For political scientists who take a pluralist approach, interest groups do not hurt democracy and the public interest but are an important instrument toattain both. Pluralists believe that elections are essential to a democracy, but they do not readily communicate what the people want in terms of policy. This is better communicated to political leaders on a day-to-day basis by the many groups and organizations to which people belong.

Pluralists argue that the interest group system is democratic because people are free to join or organizegroups that reflect their interests. Because of federalism, checks and balances, and the separation of powers, governmental power in the United States is broadly dispersed, making governmental institutions remarkably porous and open to influence by the diverse groups that exist in society. Pluralists, therefore, do not see interest groups as a problem but as an additional tool of democraticrepresentation. Interest Group Formation
Structural, Political, and Governmental Influences yhe number of interest groups active in American politics has increased dramatically since the late 1960s. Much of this increase is accounted for by the creation of new kinds of organizations, especially public-interest or citizen groups organized around some cause or idea, as opposed to an economic or occupationalinterest. Public interest groups include environmental, consumer, civil rights, and ideological organizations. Despite the proliferation of public interest groups, business, producer, and occupational groups still dominate by their sheer numbers.
Structural factors help explain the shape of the nation's interest group system. One factor has been the growing complexity of the U.S. economic andpolitical systems. Work and occupations have become more complex as agricultural and craft pursuits have been augmented by factory, office, and laboratory occupations. The economy has changed from one of small competitive firms to one of national and global corporations. These trends have contributed to diversification and complexity, and an inevitable multiplication of interests.
The political...
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