• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Are pressure groups good for democracy?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Are pressure groups good for democracy? There are many differing views on the role of the pressure group within the modern liberal democracy. Some political commentators claim that pressure groups led to an imbalance of democracy or a democratic deficit, because people who are members of pressure groups receive more of a political voice than those ordinary members of society whose access to democracy is their vote during elections. The opposite f this is the opinion which claims that pressure groups are not a form of democratic deficit but merely a way of the public getting its opinions herd and a form of communication between public and government. I am now going to analyse the pluralist model, and begin by answering the question what is a pluralist? Pluralists uphold the principle that political power in a liberal democracy is widely distributed, that continual competition between groups and that new groups constantly emerge. The pluralist would claim that the pressure group system is good for democracy as it allows people access to politics all the time as opposed to once every 4 years when an election is held. ...read more.

Middle

It is more likely that a pressure group will be ignored by government than listened to. Secondly pressure groups are not representative of the public, and often their members, this is because many groups do not have procedures for consulting their members. Thirdly because of the wide range of pressure groups different groups exert different amounts of pressure on decision makers therefore it is impractical and wrong to generalise. Fourthly pressure groups disguise the true nature of power. By claiming that decision makers merely arbitrate between the views presented by competing groups, supporters of pluralism give the impression makers are neutral when their primary concern is the maintenance of the capitalist system. Marxists like pluralists agree that organised groups are important. However, the Marxist view holds that the state is far from neutral and the imbalance in terms of political power between the groups. Thus not only will the state in liberal democracies favour business interests against those of organised labour, but their is also a huge difference between the resources available to the two, this is described by Miliband as 'imperfect competition'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is often out of proportion of their true importance in society. Therefore they can be seen as a threat to parliamentary democracy. Pressure groups themselves may not be internally democratic. Therefore it is wrong to assume they will be outwardly democratic and it will lead to leaders and spokesmen expressing opinions which are not reflective of the democratic system. This means they become reflections of elitism rather than pluralism. Trade unions were suspected of this practice before reforms of the 1980's. The same could be argued today of the Automobile Association, the British Medical Association, or the Football Association none of which have a process for consulting their members. In conclusion, on the whole pressure groups make a significant contribution to the democratic system. They allow the views of the minority to be heard and they promote mass participation in the political system. However they can led to an uneven spread of democracy and certain people benefit more from the system than others. In my opinion on the whole pressure groups enhance the political system. So in turn they are an important part of modern liberal democracies. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Pressure Groups section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Pressure Groups essays

  1. Assess the contribution of interest groups to democratic government

    Their role in protecting the rights of minorities is arguably their most important contribution to a democratic government, as whilst the will of majority should be adhered to, under a purely Democratic system the views and rights of minorities are easily ignored.

  2. Are pressure groups good or bad for democracy?

    A small local pressure group in Oxfordshire called Save Radley Lakes that was formed in 2005 had around 500 participants, but there were 30-40 activists that had really made a difference. The group campaigned against RRWE NPower which announced their intention of filling some lakes in Oxfordshire with fuel ash from a power station.

  1. Why Have Pressure Groups Become More Popular Than Political Parties?

    They believe that if they can get the media to focus on their particular group or campaign then they will have the attention of the public, for example Greenpeace. This particular pressure group is very good at publicity stunts which bring about much media attention, and this sometimes brings about a change in Government policies.

  2. The wealthier and the closer the pressure group is to the government, the more ...

    This suggests that the UK is still democratically active, as despite Greenpeace's overwhelming level of wealth, they have been unable to influence the government effectively. This may well have severe repercussion for democracy within the UK. The implication here is that the wealthiest pressure groups are more likely to have

  1. Access the view that pressure groups strengthen democracy.

    is an unfair form of democracy, as it favours wealthier pressure groups, as it costs money to lobby firms and politicians. Another elitist viewpoint of this is by doing such activities can lead to sleaze and corruption inside the government, as there are possible "behind the scene" agreements and transactions

  2. 'The existence of pressure groups makes government more democratic; the activities of pressure groups ...

    So where does the 'real power of decision making' lie? In effect in both the USA and Britain, it lies with the person at the top of power. However their power to make decisions is influenced in various ways. In Britain pressure groups in most cases have no influence over decision making.

  1. Pressure Groups in democracy

    is the IRA, who have attempted to influence policy through violence and terrorism. Acts like these are usually committed out of desperation, when influence over policy has become impossible to obtain. Therefore surely it is democratic for them to act in this way if other causes have got governmental influence and others don't.

  2. Pressure groups revison notes

    Their collective weight requires gov to be highly responsive to citizens' needs 4. Stress the significance of diverse social groups in the creation of public policy 1. Groups compete with one another for influence and policy decisions made within well-functioning pluralist democracies are the product of a wide array of organised groups influences 2.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work