• 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...


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.


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.


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. In what ways, if at all, might it be said that democracy ensures power ...

    always lie in the hands a small elite not the hands of an unintelligent, apathetic majority. Michels named this 'The Iron law of oligarchy'. (Heywood, 2002). Although classical elitists such as Mosca and Pareto believed in proving that there was no democracy only elitism, modern elitists such C. Wright Mills(1916-1962)

  2. Do you consider the political activities of organised groups (pressure groups) to enhance or ...

    This means that those who are representing them have to satisfy the people. They also argue that groups such as trade unions and political parties are vital to democracy as it allows voters to have an opportunity to exert some power over specific issues that occur.

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

    The Neo-Pluralist theory argues that the Pluralist viewpoint is an idealist view of how pressure groups and politics are ran, but this is not always the way things happen.

  2. Are pressure groups good or bad for democracy?

    Although the group claims that it has around 25,000 of members, it appears to be fewer than 20 actual members who were involved in civil protest regularly conducting disobedience actions. Those two dozens of people also forced the government to change legislation.

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

    to gain the limelight in any possible way, and this is generally gained via the media. Another example of this is the infamous group 'Fathers4Justice', who rely on high-risk stunts in order to gain publicity for their cause. This enables them to generate media coverage, and often become a topic for debate within parliament.

  2. Access the view that pressure groups strengthen democracy.

    For example, the pressure group (ASH) Act on Smoking and Health have been successful in influencing the government to ban cigarette smoking in public places. Conversely, the other side to this argument is that the use of pressure groups taking this action encourages participation and the expression of differing opinions.

  1. A Cabinet Minister once described Pressure Groups as Creatures which strangle efficient government. Discuss ...

    One of the reasons for pressure groups being good is that it is a very good way of getting the public to join in politics in-between elections. There was an e-petition (petitions that can be signed on the internet) which had 8.3 million peopleâs names on.

  2. Pressure groups revison notes

    Relaxation of alcohol licensing 1. Strength of opposition: 1. Two or more groups often have opposing views and act as a counter balance to each other 2. The role of the gov is then to act as an negotiator between competing claims 3. Recent examples: 1. Animal rights vs. the fur trade 2. Anti-smoking vs.

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