Pressure Groups - Democracy and Power

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How Powerful are Pressure Groups and are they Good for Democracy?

The Pluralist Argument...

  • Power is dispersedin modern western democracies as there are a lot of competing groups who check and balance each others power.
  • There are a diverse amount of pressure groups at all leves of government.
  • The existence of one pressure groups leads to the growth of a rival one such as CBI (business) v TUC (workers).
  • These groups encourage democratic debate and help educate the public so they can make informed political choices.
  • Therefore, pressure groups is the essence of a free democratic society.

The Elitist Argument...

  • Power remains concentrated in the hands of the few.
  • Competition between group remains unequal due to differences in money and resources available to each. Some have lots of rsources, effective leadership and communication skills as well as access to decision makers.
  • A lot of effective influence takes place behind closed doors and ministers will listen to some groups but reject others. For example, within our captialist society, the big business groups will be listend to because so much of our economy and lifestyles are effected by their prosperity and this influence is often at the expense of workers and the poor.
  • Elitists argue that pluralism is a myth and that only certain groups have…


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