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

Assess the contribution of interest groups to democratic government

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the contribution of interest groups to democratic government [50] - Oli Palmer An interest group is an association of individuals who share similar beliefs that seeks to influence governmental policy in order to further their individual interests. The term 'democratic' literally means government by the majority, however a modern day 'democratic government' is a lot more complex. A modern democratic government would be expected, whilst acknowledging rule by the people, to take in the views of the minorities. There are clear benefits to the contribution of interest groups to government; the Pluralist view emphasises that in a healthy democracy, their role in education, encouraging participation, providing an alternative and assisting in the legislative process are all positive contributions. However, there are numerous arguments that negate their positive contribution, such as the 'elitist theory', which accounts for the differing levels of influence between the groups; certain groups have a greater influence due to greater resources. Furthermore, other issues arise such as the influence of money within interest groups, and that this sways from any positive democratic contribution; especially in America where the 'revolving door syndrome' highlights serious issues. ...read more.

Middle

In fact, $1.2 billion was spent on lobbying in health care in 2009, and indeed, large corporations such as the American Medical Association and Glaxo Smith Klein were able to promote their sectional interests. In the UK as well, pressure groups affect the process of legislating, which can be considered a bad thing for democratic govern, considering they already have a mandate. For example, in Britain, the Conservatives intended to sell Britain's forests to private companies, yet this scheme has now been scrapped due to intense pressure from local communities and pressure groups. This is detrimental to democracy as the views of a minority can impede on the views of a majority. This is a view supported by the New Right theory, which S. Reily sums up as 'organised interests often clog the arteries of the body politic.' With so many competing sectional interests (such as in America with the NRA directly contradicted by handgun control) the role of pressure groups exacerbates the already difficult situation in legislatures getting legislation through. Lastly, some consider certain Pressure Group tactics as undermining the rule of law and therefore being undemocratic. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, the Lawrence v. Texas case received large numbers of amicus briefs from gay rights groups. The rights of minorities, which could so easily be restricted by government which adheres to the will of the majority, can be defended by sectional interests groups, thus assisting democracy. Lastly, their role in holding the government to account is also a key factor in Democratic government. In America, this role is fulfilled by groups such as Common Cause, who act as whistle-blowers. For example in recent times, they were the group that revealed Al Wynn's situation regarding his work with K Street, they led the charge against disgraced Tom Delay, and in 2008 led a successful campaign for the setting up of ethics commission in the house. This therefore is another valuable benefit to democratic government. In conclusion, whilst there are clearly undemocratic aspects to interest groups as seen with the elitist and corporatist theory, sectional interests and direct action, their democratic contribution outweighs this as they protect the rights of minorities, they hold the government to account, and play a huge role in educating the public and encouraging participation. Therefore, their contribution is largely democratic. ...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. The wealthier and the closer the pressure group is to the government, the more ...

    However, wealth cannot be solely responsible for influencing the government. Without possessing similar ideological ideas to the residing government, it is highly unlikely that the pressure group will have any joy. The likes of Greenpeace and Father4Justice are prime examples of groups who rely heavily on direct action in order to influence the government due to their outsider status.

  2. Cuban Government structure.

    The council of ministers The council of ministers is the basis for the Cuban government. It incorporates the leadership of all the nations' ministries, state committees, and national institutes. The council also is comprised of the executive and high-leveled administrative leadership of the national government.

  1. How does British Airways affect local communities?

    They also sponsor schools such as Slough and Eton Church of England School and have helped them to earn a Business and Enterprise College status.

  2. DETAINING TERRORIST SUSPECTS Democracy and judicial review:The main opposition to judicial review is that ...

    The article backs this up by stating that terrible injustices have been perpetrated in the name of the security of thousands who have no effective recourse to the law"-

  1. Compare and Contrast Pluralist and Marxist Accounts of Power in the UK and US.

    logical to say that the more accurate information citizens have about the running of a country the better position they will be in to vote at elections. Dunleavy and O'Leary say: "Accurate and full information about politics is essential if [citizens] are to control politicians,"2 as if people know that a government is making decisions they disagree with.

  2. Pressure groups revison notes

    or pensioners (approx 25% of population) but were sympathetic to homeowners 4. Size on its own won't get you noticed 1.

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

    The New Right would say that Pressure Group leaders don?t represent the members of that Pressure Group. You could be a member of the Automobile Association (AA) but you might not approve of the AA?s policy of agreeing with the government on taxing road users if they drive at peak times on motorways.

  2. We Are The 100%. Many agree with the cause and consider the Occupy ...

    the government is not doing everything it can to help resolve the situation. There are many qualified and educated people who do not have jobs due to the poor economy. Furthermore, the majority are frustrated because of the tax loopholes that enable some corporations to pay a lower percentage of taxes than lower income families.

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