The Influence of Business Groups on Government Decisions

Topics: Government, Public policy, Debate Pages: 5 (1963 words) Published: November 2, 2008
“The flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper-class accent” (p. 336), this statement is written by E.E Schattschneider. This debate surrounds the extreme amount of power or influence business groups have on government. For most of us who pay attention to government issues, it is obvious that the business elites basically make all the decisions concerning society when they only count as the minority in our society. Their rules, laws, and ways of thinking are usually implemented on the other members of our society. Business groups have first opportunity in making demands and decisions, although author of the Canadian Politics text book Rand Dyck says we are all given equal opportunity in decision making (p. 137), this is not true because the higher you are on the hierarchy the better chance you have of voicing out your opinion and issues. As an example, most decisions we see our government make today are catered more towards the rich or business owners. Business groups do have privileged access to government in lots of uncountable ways like being given closer attention, they have knowledge of politics that is needed by the state, and they have unlimited resources because of their social network with politicians. The other side of the debate argues that thousands of business groups go broke each year, that consumers and business groups do have equal amount of influence on government, and that both business groups and the public must “compete” in the marketplace of ideas and values, (Stanbury, p. 359). The YES side of the debate is more persuasive and believable than the opposite side of the argument. According to William D. Coleman’s article, “Charles Lindblom says that ‘business persons are, in fact, public officials,’” (p. 339). I agree with this statement because business men and women are the ones usually seen holding government offices or positions, it seems like the regular everyday people are not given equal opportunity to be public officials. The first article Do Business Groups Have Privileged Access to Government? written by William D. Coleman who defines business as public corporations companies, partnerships, or individually owned firms that are out to make profit for their owners from the sales of goods, services or exploitation of workers. Business groups are then defined as individual firms and the interests association the firm groups belong to. We live in a capitalistic society and market economy. Also we have a liberal democratic political system. Coleman refers to and agrees with Marx’ theory, that with the combination of economic and political system there would be lots of annoyed working class individuals in our society. Another reason why business groups have privileged access to government is because they are responsible for the growth of society’s economy because they decide what will or will not be produced for consumers. Business groups also decide on how to invest capital, as in spending it on luxury goods, purchasing new equipment or expanding their business or factory. Coleman’s article also talks about the four dimensions that prove how business groups have more access to government than any other group in society. Firstly, “business groups are listened to more attentively than other groups; business groups possess more resources than other social groups; the knowledge of business groups are needed for the making of public policy; and business interests are more easily mobilized than those of other interests,” (p. 339). He gives examples; one regarding the permit of building a hydro electric dam in a remote area. The Aboriginals did not want the dam in their location because it would involve the relocation of one of the villages, would disrupt hunting practices, and would lead to death of many fishes which is a staple food (Coleman, p. 339). On the other hand, business groups supported the building of the dam because they would only benefit from it and...

References: Coleman, W. D. Do Business Groups Have Privileged Access to Government? Issue Seventeen.
Dyck, R. (2006). Canadian Politics: Concise Fourth Edition. Nelson Education Ltd. Toronto, Ontario.
Stanbury, W. T. Assessing the Political Power of Business Interests. Issue Seventeen.
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