do the lobbying activities of interest groups influence the legislative decisions and actions Richard A. Smith. Consider first the scholarly work on the relationship between .. "always necessary to convince the government to provide a public. the level of government activity has reached such proportions as to cause positive relationship between number of interest groups and size of govern-. Interest groups have long been active in international affairs, but the level of that (e.g., the International Chamber of Commerce and the European Association of of interest group activity, many democratic governments and all authoritarian.
This penultimate unit delves into the role of interest groups in American political life. America has, as Tocqueville noted, long been a nation of joiners.
We have a long history of joining together for common purposes, and thus it no surprise that organized groups prevail throughout the political system. As the unit shows, however, interest groups are not easily categorized. There is a wide variety of interests represented in the political system and they use an equally wide array of tactics and strategies.
Part of this unit demonstrates the vibrancy of strategies and tactics employed by groups attempting to influence public policy. The framers of the U. Constitution understood that organized interests would always attempt to exert influence on policy.
They developed a constitutional system of republican government that takes organized interests as a given, and thus allows interests to weigh in on policy-making in various ways. In making the case for the Constitution's ratification, James Madison placed the problem of organized interests at the center of his theory of republican democracy.
The remedy for the problem of factions lies not in trying to eliminate them, but in controlling their effects. One solution is to encourage the proliferation of various groups of different shapes, sizes, and motives so that no one group dominates the others in ways that undercut basic rights and liberties.
Interest groups are any organization of people with policy goals who work within the political process to promote such goals. Groups attempt to influence policy in various ways including: Organized interests hire representatives to advocate on behalf of the group's interests.
Lobbying activities include contacting members of Congress and the executive branch to disseminate information about the positive or adverse effects of proposed legislation. Engaging in election activities. Interests may attempt to influence elections in order to help get people who support their issues elected or reelected.
Electioneering techniques include giving money to candidates, endorsing candidates or issues, and conducting grassroots activities such as get-out-the-vote drives. Interest groups work hard to educate the public at large, government officials, their own members, and potential interest group members.
To influence policy-making, many groups rely on the efforts of people who are motivated to act on behalf of their issues and causes. So-called grassroots activities might include writing letters, making phone calls, contacting policy-makers, and demonstrating. Many interest groups in society are those focused on advancing their members' economic interests.
Some have a large membership base, while others represent only a few members. These include the World Council of Churchesthe Baptist World Alliancethe Anglican Communioninternational networks of gay-rights groups, and the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, an organization of indigenous peoples of the Arctic and subarctic regions of North AmericaEurope, and Asia.
Such groups and organizations are involved in international lobbying for a variety of reasons and with mixed success. Some, such as churches, often lobby simply for the right to operate in a country and on behalf of human and civil rights and the poor.
Others, such as indigenous groups, lobby for the rights of their compatriots in terms of preserving their customs and language and repatriating artifacts that may have been taken to other countries and are now housed in museums around the world particularly in countries that were former colonizers.
International public interest groups nongovernmental organizations [NGOs]. NGOs embrace a wide range of groups that focus on issues of broad public concern, such as human rightschild welfareand the status of women, as opposed to the specific interests of particular businesses or sectors of society, such as automobile manufacturers and physicians.
Though there is no current, reliable count of NGOs, they mushroomed in the period after World War II and may number as many as 10,; in Latin America alone it is estimated that there are some 2, NGOs, many of which work in several countries. NGOs enjoy mixed success in their political activities, partly because governments rarely rely on these groups to maintain themselves in office.
Most operate far from public view, and their successes may receive little publicity. Some, however, such as Greenpeace, receive major publicity for their campaigns. The regulation of interest groups Even though interest groups are indispensable to the operation of government in both democracies and authoritarian systems, they have the potential to promote the interests of a small segment of society at the expense of society as a whole.
Consequently, there is criticism of interest group activity in both democracies and authoritarian regimes. However, views of the negative effects of interest groups and ways of attempting to deal with them are different in democracies and authoritarian systems.
In pluralist systems there is a great degree of concern with how interest groups might undermine democracy. To deal with potential problems of interest group activity, many democratic governments and all authoritarian regimes adopt some form of regulation control in authoritarian systems on interest groups.
In all systems, the goal of regulation is to promote the public interest, however defined, over that of the narrow segments of society represented by interest groups.
In its specific form, however, regulation varies considerably in scope, focus, and form between democratic and authoritarian regimes. Regulations in authoritarian systems are usually quite wide-ranging and are focused on controlling group formation and channeling the modes of activity that groups can pursue.
Interest Groups: Organizing to Influence, Topic Overview
In such systems, activity by particular interest groups may be prohibited e. In democracies the underlying principle of the regulation of interest groups is that it enhances democracy.
However, few, if any, restrictions are placed on group formation and the right to lobby government.