Any society is characterized by the fact that it has a large number of opinions and needs, which may differ from each other. In order to come to a compromise or protect the disadvantaged, citizens need to show their requests. In order for this procedure to be as effective as possible, such a concept as an interest group appeared. It is necessary to analyze what kind of phenomenon it is and find out how such a model affects the situation in society.
Interest groups are social groups united by common goals and requests. It is this criterion that acts as a property of these groups. In turn, firstly, it unites this group into a summary or society and, at the same time, separates it from other communities with different characteristics of social status and other goals. Secondly, it determines the purpose of this group, which is to express and implement common requests (Donald & Avgouleas, 2019). The specificity of interest groups, which makes these groups the subject of study for political science, lies in the fact that these groups seek to realize their interests primarily through influence on politics (Donald & Avgouleas, 2019). In political science, there are three main models of interaction between interest groups and the state inherent in modern society:
- Democratically corporatist (Donald & Avgouleas, 2019);
The pluralistic system of interest groups is characterized by a number of features that relate to both the form of organization of interests and the ways of group participation in the political process. Thus, diverse groups may represent a single social request, and membership in groups is voluntary and limited. At the same time, groups often have a loose or decentralized organizational structure; within such a system, there are separate interest groups for specific sectors of society, such as trade unions (Tool, 2019). Each of these sectors can be represented by many groups, trade unions, or businesses (Tool, 2019). These groups compete among themselves for resources, members, and influence, all at the same time trying to impose their demands on policy makers and public policy makers. The most famous example of a pluralistic system of interest groups is the United States.
Democratic corporatist interest group systems are characterized by a much more organized representation of requests. Each social request is usually represented by a single parent association (Tool, 2019). Membership in such an association is often mandatory and almost universal. Parent associations have a centralized structure and share the activities of their members. In many cases, interest groups are systematically involved in policy development and implementation (Tool, 2019). In a corporatist system there is a single parent association representing all the most significant business and industrial goals.
Finally, a completely different model for organizing interest groups is inherent in managed systems. In it, each sector of society is represented by one group, and membership in such groups is often compulsory. Moreover, each group usually has a hierarchical structure and is controlled by the government or its agencies in order to mobilize support for the government’s policies. The defining feature of this type of system is that groups exist to facilitate government control of society (Tool, 2019). The most revealing in this respect are the traditional communist systems, where the dominant party organizations penetrated all levels of society and tightly controlled all permitted association groups. For example, trade unions and youth organizations were completely subordinate to the Communist Party, and they were only very rarely allowed to articulate the requests of their members (Donald & Avgouleas, 2019). The development of highly controlled interest groups is also encouraged by the political systems of a number of non-communist countries, such as Brazil and Mexico.
In conclusion, it should be noted that a key function of the interest group model is to promote and protect the demands of certain segments of the population from which candidates are nominated. In other words, this mechanism is designed to influence the authorities on behalf of the general society with interests that are different from those already existing. The effectiveness of this approach is shown by real states in which the system brings effective results that satisfy the needs of citizens.
Donald, D. C. & Avgouleas, E. (Eds.). (2019). The political economy of financial regulation. Cambridge University Press.
Tool, M. R. (2019). Evolutionary economics. Taylor & Francis.