Pluralism vs. Elitism

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Pluralism vs. Elitism

The term lobbying conjures up visions of a cigar-chomping interest group representative, his arm around the shoulder of an important senator or representative, advising him how he ought to vote on some obscure provision of the Tax Code and slipping an envelope, fat with currency, into his jacket pocket. Or it conjures up images of favors given: paid vacations to exotic locations, honorarium payments for brief speeches at association meetings, and other exchanges verging on bribery. These images both reveal and confuse. These things surely happened in the past, some continue to happen today, and some will surely happen in the future? (Greenberg & Page 192). But what these images don’t help us understand are the intricacies of the inside game that do not involve bribes but are more the politics of insiders and the old boy network. In the United States, There are two basic theories regarding political decision-making within the government. They are called the Pluralist & Elitist theories. The Pluralist Theory, also known as the Interest Group Theory, suggests that political decision making is the result of the interaction, conflict, and bargaining of a diversity of interest groups both large and small. The Elitist Theory on the other hand claims that political decisions are influenced by a small group of individuals within government; individuals being defined as big business, military and academia. Academia meaning think tanks, research institutes etc. regardless of which theory you may identify with, you must never discount the very special place of business within the government. They are by far the wealthiest lobbyists and thus wield much influence. Mark Green’s article entitled, “The Evil of Access”, not only highlights this very point but also brings to light the fact that money has direct correlation to political appointment. According to Mr. Green, the candidate with the most money wins? And how does a candidate get his money?...
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