Interest Groups

Topics: American Enterprise Institute, Think tank, Brookings Institution Pages: 4 (1048 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Interest Groups

Interest Group is defined as "an organized body of individuals who try to influence public policy." This system is designed so that interest groups would be an instrument of public influence on politics to create changes, but would not threaten the government much. Whether this is still the case or not is an important question that we must find out. Interest groups play many different roles in the American political system, such as representation, participation, education, and program monitoring. Representation is the function that we see most often and the function we automatically think of when we think of interest groups. Participation is another role that interest groups play in our government, which is when they facilitate and encourage the participation of their members in the political process. Interest groups also educate, by trying to inform both public officials and the public at large about matters of importance to them. Lobby groups also keep track of how programs are working in the field and try to persuade government to take action when problems become evident when they monitor programs. The traditional interest groups have been organized around some form of economic cause, be it corporate interests, associates, or unions. The number of business oriented lobbies has grown since the 1960s and continues to grow. Public-interest groups have also grown enormously since the 1960s. Liberal groups started the trend, but conservative groups are now just as common, although some groups are better represented through interest groups than others are. There are many ways that the groups can influence politics too. The increase in interest group activity has fragmented the political debate into little pockets of debates and have served to further erode the power of political parties, who try to make broad based appeals. PACs also give money to incumbents, which means that incumbents can accumulate large reelection campaign...

Bibliography: 1. Groliers Encyclopedia on CD-Rom, 1993 Grolier Inc., Software Toolworks
2. Ideas Move Nations, The Atlantic Monthly, 1986
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