To what extent do pressure groups undermine democracy?
It is a varied opinion in society that pressure groups undermine democracy: some people believe strongly, some people don’t. It is hard to begin to analyse whether this is the case or not, as there are a varying amount of factors that need to be considered before a final decision and be made. In the first instance of answering this question, we need to find out the two types of pressure groups; elitist pressure groups and pluralist pressure groups. Elitism is the theory that political power is concentrated in the hands of a few, which therefore sort of emphasises a dictatorship in some instances. Whereas the other type of pressure group ideology is the theory of the distribution of political power that holds that power is widely and evenly dispersed in society, rather than concentrated in the hands of an elite or ruling class, which from an outside point of view, would look like it promotes democracy. Supporters of pressure group would lead this on to say that pressure groups enhance this sense of pluralism in our democracy and make our democratic system much more effective. Although the opposite argument to this is that people claim that many organized groups can undermine the policy making process because they are dominated by people with vested interests concerned only to improve the position of certain groups within society, not the welfare of the whole country. Pressure groups also help to promote democracy because they widen the distribution of political power because pressure groups compete against one another and this ensures that no group can remain on top of all the others, so prevents an elitist situation whereby the ideologies pluralism is completely outcast from the situation. However as one group begins to turn more influential, other groups come into existence to combat them and offer rival viewpoints. Due to this, public policy is created through an ongoing debate between rival...
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