To What Extent Do Pressure Groups Undermine Democracy in the Us?

796 WordsDec 29, 20104 Pages
To what Extent do Pressure Groups undermine Democracy in the US? For some, pressure groups are a fundamental part of democracy. To others, pressure groups undermine the whole principle of democracy. Democracy is a system of government where decisions are arrived at by majoritarian principles with representatives elected at periodic elections where political equality and political freedom allow the voter an effective choice between competing candidates in a secret ballot. How do pressure groups fit in with this concept? In the pluralist model of democracy, pressure groups play an essential role. Political parties cannot provide adequate representation for the full range of diverse interests and opinions in a modern democracy because…show more content…
Freely operating pressure groups are essential to the effective functioning of liberal democracy in three main ways: they serve as vital intermediary institutions between government and society; they assist in the dispersal of political power; and they provide important counterweights to balance the concentration of power. Pressure groups enable new concerns and issues to reach the political agenda, thereby facilitating social progress and preventing social stagnation. For example, the women’s and environmentalist movements.Pressure groups increase social cohesion and political stability by providing a ‘safety-valve’ outlet for individual and collective grievances and demands.Pressure groups assist the surveillance of the government by exposing information it would rather keep secret, thereby reinforcing and complementing work of opposition through political parties. Pressure groups thereby improve the accountability of decision makers to electorates. Although few people would deny that pressure groups play an important role in British politics, critics have argued that this role may not be the one suggested by the pluralist model. Pressure groups improve participation, but in an unequal way, benefiting the well organized but
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