Do Interest Groups Subvert Democracy?

The Role of Interest Groups in Undermining Democracy

The subject of whether interest groups undermine democracy has long been argued in history. A thorough examination of the matter, however, indicates that interest groups play a considerable role in weakening the values that underlie liberal democracy. Survival is dependent on interest groups in some democratic administrations. Dependence frequently leads to bias and a disproportionate focus on the interests of well-funded parties with an advantage. Well-organized pro-capitalist interest groups are frequently relied on by democratic governments for survival.  The presence of strong interest groups compels the government to make policies that are supported by the private enterprises. The policies are often not a representation of the needs of the majority who should have an upper hand in the in the democratic practices. Interest groups that are pro-capitalist are also granted an insider status making them have secret negotiations with the government that further hinders the accountability to the citizens (Gilen & Benjamin 566-568). In such a case, the government thwarts all the efforts by the public aimed at seeking explanation on how resources have been used. Because of the great influence by the powerful interest groups, disadvantaged and poor groups like the ones that fight for the minority group rights end up being under-funded and ignored.

The Impact of Interest Groups on Government Decision Making

\t The argument that the presence of many interest groups is a reflection of the maturity of democracy is somehow detached from reality. These interest groups end up swaying the government decisions to serve the needs of the few vocal and influential leaders and members of the groups. The effect of undermining determining through the interest groups dates back to the 1970s when the system of corporatism was common (Lehmbruch 65-66). Under this form of leadership, trade unions dictated the path that was to be taken by the government in the formulation of policies. Just like the excessive powers that were laid on the corporations, the modern-day interest groups have ended up making the government lame and detached from the needs of the majority who ought to have a greater influence.
\n \t The position taken by scholars in the field of democratic pluralism on the democratic activities of interest groups has been criticized for not being analytical. The scholars continue to praise the interest groups claiming that they ensure that the citizens\u2019 voices are heard and minority groups protected. However, there are theorists who are who oppose this stand, borrowing from the knowledge from Elitism, Marxism, and Corporatism. The theorists\u2019 critical approach to the negative aspects of the interest groups has revealed that the government should be made free from the influence of the interest groups. Although interest groups are good when playing their roles of representation, they ought to be controlled in order to guarantee the independence of the government. Being a majoritarian concept, there should no time that democracy should be controlled from the hands of a few in the population who are likely to be driven by greed and the desire to realize their interests first.

Works Cited

Gilens, Martin, and Benjamin I. Page. “Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens.” Perspectives on politics 12.3 (2014): 564-581.

Lehmbruch, Gerhard. “Consociational democracy, class conflict, and the new corporatism.” Verhandlungsdemokratie. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2003. 65-67.

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