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How has Pressure Groups contributed to Democracy?

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Introduction

In what ways do pressure groups contribute towards democracy? Pressure groups are organised groups of people that aim to influence the policies or actions of government. They are defined by three key features: they seek to exert influence from outside, rather than to win or exercise government power. They typically have a narrow issue focus. Usually, they focus on single issues concerning the society. Their members are united by a shared belief or a common set of interests. For some, pressure groups are a fundamental part of democracy. To others, pressure groups undermine the whole principle. Democracy is a political system of government where decisions are arrived by majoritarian principles with representative elected at periodic elections. This is where political equality and freedom allow for effective choice. How then do pressure groups fit in to contribute to the concept of democracy? ...read more.

Middle

The government listened to the opposing arguments and eventually, after much controversy and highly publicised difference of opinion, the ban on fox hunting with hounds came into force in 2007. Pluralists also believe that pressure groups overcome the democratic deficit. This happens where after every 5 years of election; voters lose political participation and become apathetic as they have little or no influence over decision making. Pressure groups then increase participation and access to political system. In that way, they contribute immensely to democracy because the people have an avenue to voice their opinions. The quality of democracy is enhanced when pressure groups complement and supplement electoral democracy by keeping the government in touch with public opinion and giving a political voice to the minority groups. Social concerns are also articulated during discussion time in parliament which is overlooked by political parties. ...read more.

Conclusion

Such participation supplements democracy to a large extent. Representation Pressure groups social stagnation and increases social cohesion and stability when they provide an avenue for grievances and interest to be represented. For example: Trade unions represent employment's rights, Friends of the Earth / Greenpeace protect animal wildlife, and Shelter protects the homelessness. So far, pressure groups have been proved to be indispensable to democracy. However, there exist arguments to the contrary where pressure groups are seen to serve as a hindrance to democracy. The concept of Pluralism is deemed merely impractical. It is believed that decision makers will ultimately implement their own agenda and if the views and proposals of pressure groups are nonconforming with those decision makers, they are likely to be ignored. Pressure groups can also distort democracy by exercising disproportionate influence and thus, undermining the notion of democracy. Pressure groups generally favour the stronger groups in society. ...read more.

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