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One way the globe has benefitted from westernization is the wide spread adoption of democratic practices. Over the past decades, numerous nations have increasingly adopted democratic system of governance with aim of reaping its associated benefits. From the onset of the twenty first century, democracy was closely associated with rampart economic advancements aided by the liberty enjoyed in such states. Furthermore, it afforded individuals a platform from which to explore ways of economic containments.
The system equally offered newer development opportunities that attracted not only the local but foreign investors in comparable measure. Despite the present challenges posed principal democratic systems by fiscal enhancing communist systems, it is still viewed as the solely way for practicable social economical stability. This research paper explores a concept of democratization concerned with the aggregation of interests in relation to political parties. It provides a comparative review of these concepts and their significance in any self governing system.
Interest aggregation plays a comparatively significant role in the formation of political associations. Almond, Powell, Dalton & Strom (2008) observes that political parties generally participate in numerous roles within the society. Among an assortment of functions, they groom specific individual for candidature in electoral processes, responsible for establishment of governments in the events of political triumphs and the critical responsibility of civic edification. Furthermore, they perform the societal function of articulating and showcasing their interests while at the same time aggregating policies in reference to the demands posed by their electorate. Additionally, they perform the party's critical goal of developing policies are salable to the electorates. Overall, the functions of any political parties vary and are dependant on a variety of factor including the preferred system of governance (Almond et al, 2008). Political parties play an increasingly vital role in any democratic system. Ray (2004) defines such groupings as an ensemble of individuals who attempts to assume political aptitude to exercises authority over their fellows through a political procedure such as elections. The vehicle used to achieve such agendas is the political association with a clear mandate and objectives. Furthermore, Ray (2004) observes that the critical function of any political association to any society is to articulate and aggregate societal interests.
The primary way of achieving these twin functionalities is through concise definition and expression of public need in a manner that is easily comprehensible by the public. Consequently, aggregation of interests refers to the manner in which a political organization integrates dissimilar viewpoints in regards to a centralized issue. Ray (2004) observes that interest aggregation enables the centralization of ideologies amid the specific groupings such that they achieve a coherent integration in regard to political issues within their political system.
Almond et al (2008) view interest aggregation as a procedural undertaking in the political needs of the pertinent groupings is addressed as an encompassing political schema. Reportedly, interest aggregation is vital in the establishment of stable and achievable government schemas as it afford the platform for addressing competing goals and negotiating a compromise to realize a united point of view. Almond et al (2008) observe that interest aggregation has over the years formed the core of stable democracies as it has the highly likeable ability of prompt functionality and adaptability.
The recently published analysis political party analysis by Lawson & Poguntke (2011) is observant of the significance of political parties in the institution of interest aggregation. Evidently, this is attributable to inherent competition amid the political organizations for preference from the potential electorates which compel them to design practicable policies schemas. Furthermore, apart from democratic systems where there is public debate of such events in despotic systems, the procedures are concealed and proscribed. According to Lawson & Poguntke (2011), despotic systems achieve interest aggregation through mobilization of the populace to support the ruling elite. This shows a strict dissimilarity to the democratic system's approach to interest aggregation where it is a government initiative through political parties in responses to public interests.
Almond et al (2008) give examples of such instance where the interest of individuals and persons combine to formulate an agenda that enables the attainment of certain goals and needs. For instances, the design of a practicable economic policy is dependable on manifold considerations. To begin with, it requires the consideration of the preference of persons within the agricultural sector for higher crop prices, the general population's liking for squat tax rates, and the emphasis on environmental quality by environmentalists.
Furthermore, there is the critical need for a balanced business environment. A political system would consider all these factors in their fabrication of a workable policy. Almond et al (2008) observe that the possibility of having such a unifying political organization depends on a number of factors. Reportedly, the governing party enjoys a popular vote, show responsibility and accountability to campaign funds, has substantial legislative seats, posse's position of administrative power, and enjoys a unilateral access to media and an elaborate defense system.
According to Almond et al (2008), there are dissimilar ways of fostering interest aggregation, be it in democratic systems or despotic single party systems. These include personal interest aggregation, Institutional interest aggregation, Competitive interest aggregation, dictatorial interest aggregation and Military system and interest aggregation. Which the system, interest aggregation is either a government initiative in reaction to interest of the electorate of the despotic system where interest aggregation is geared towards achieving the authoritarian ideals of the ruling elite.
Personal Interest Aggregation
According to Almond et al (2008), this approach to interest integration takes different shapes which include patron client and static political system associations. However, the most significant is the personal interest aggregation. In this paradigm, the political structure takes a design where a centralized figure of authority or a group on which the society has bestowed authority avail assistance to the societal members inn exchange to their unlimited loyalty. Almond et al (2008) observe that the patron client approach is significant in societies where there is preference of comparative politics. Political methods such as feudalism are massively reliant on patron client technique.
Almond et al (2008) denote that, in the past, numerous nations practiced this political technique. These included U.S and the British and an assortment of third world nations. The British systems for long spells relied on this system where certain individuals called lords and knights who increasingly exercised the technique. In America, the perpetuators of this style were people like Richard Daley of Chicago and Boss Tweed of New York. However, the prevalence of such systems in developed nations has subsided while they are still central in other nations like India and Nigeria.
Proponents of these methodology were in the past associated with the tight cycle of loyal patrons who political confidants. According to Almond et al (2008), the patron client methodology emanated from the Asian continent and continually spread to the western civilization. Reportedly, such organizations comprised a special clique of personnel who formed the political machinery of their leaders. Almond et al (2008) observe that patron client interaction as a governance methodology responsibly carried out the enlisting of political offices, conception and establishment of interest integration, policy formulation and implementation. Furthermore, its dominance within developing nations is attributable to fiscal benefits such derived from such political arrangements.
Static political system association has a linkage to interest aggregation methodology. According to Almond et al (2008), the manner of patron link ties is responsible for its formation and sustenance. Furthermore, decisions made in such arrangements are dependable on persistently shifting agreements amid the dissimilar factional leaders. Such political systems characterized by an inability to ensemble existing political resources to permit the formulation of acceptable policies. Evidently, in such systems, it is increasingly difficult to make changes owing to the numerous factions, (Almond et al, 2008). Examples of such systems includes the Philippines, Japan an India. Almond et al (2008) take note of the characteristic structure of such political systems where political parties are increasingly enormous and complicated.
Institutional Interest Aggregation ad political Parties
This type of interest aggregation is common amid the contemporary society. In Almond et al (2008) analysis, they indicate that such systems are comprised of citizens who are increasingly aware of political events, they share an enormous common interest. Furthermore, the grouping comprises individuals with special skills and resources. Consequently, institutional systems strictly regulate individual networks at primary level and the national echelons. Moreover, such organizations posse's enormous resource that enables them coherently articulate and instigate the critical interest aggregation.
There are two approaches to this methodology, associate and institutional groupings. Associational grouping are organizations like trade unions and chambers for commerce. According to Almond et al (2008), these groupings commands enormous number of representatives and in countable cases poses adequate levels of influences that extends their essential functions of particulate interest representation. Reportedly, they have in numerous occasions separated from their mainstream obligations to declare political interest. Moreover, they draw so much influence from the individuals they represent which makes them contenders for political positions. Evidently, groupings like labor organizations boasts of representation of huge numbers drawn from the working community which quantifies them as potential political force.
Almond et al (2008) cite the political power enjoyed by labor unions within the British's labor party which shows the significance of such organizations in fostering interest integration. Additionally, associational groupings encompass such critical decision determining organizations which are external to the mainstream legislation channels but posses such massive influence in the conception and establishment of national policies. From the aforementioned literature, it is evident that these organizations have the aptitude to dictate the direction of any associated political party. Evidently, functions of parties like the British labor party, determined by the directions taken by the constitute labor organizations.
Institutional groups take to two critical approaches to interest aggregation, bureaucracy and military associations. Almond et al (2008) denote that the essential responsibility of any bureaucratic system is to implements institutional objectives and policies. However, it has also found use in negotiations with respective organizations to iron out protruding dissimilarities with respect to a given policy or directive. Evidently, these functionalities aim at identifying the dissimilar views amid concerned factions to enable the appropriate formulation of policies that are all inclusive.
Consequently, associations may utilize bureaucratic agencies to promote their views regarding certain issues that are still in contention. Similarly, bureaucratic systems tend to enlarge their spheres of influence by limiting sources for problematic issues and contentious policies. In Almond et al (2008) analysis, this approach is implementable through an incremental capacity to handle rising difficulties inline with the specific expertise of the given agency. Reportedly, the upshot is the creation of customized patron support network geared towards complains reduction.
A part from the means associated with bureaucracy, military factions are similarly important as an institutional group with a capacity for interest aggregation. In Almond et al (2008), they observe that the significance of a military faction is evident in the event of government break downs. When any ruling political association loses the legitimacy to direct the political views of a society, the military becomes imperative in ensuring the survival and restoration of governance. In addition to this, incidences of coup attempts across the globe are because of persistent grievances by the electorates. Almond et al (2008) observe that the assumption of governance by military organizations gets extra motivation from the fears of persistently increasing scrutiny and infringement by civic leaders in their professional interests.
Competitive Party System and Interest Aggregation
Almonds et al (2008) in their analysis, base their arguments on the fact that political parties form the vital ingredient within the structure of interest aggregation. Reportedly, parties their influence within the society is the essential pillar around which interest aggregation has its conception. Evidently, there is an interrelationship amid these two concepts. The need for interest aggregation sires political parties, which becomes the key tool for fabricating and establishing stronger interests within their body of electorates.
Nonetheless, the type of political groupings that ensue from any needful interest aggregation is dependant on their capacity to freely establish and equally compete for support from the societal members, as this is the prerequisite for government control (Almond et al, 2008). In this regard, two party systems emerge. Almond et al (2008) observe that Competitive party systems seek control of government through the establishment of an electoral support system while authoritarian party seeks to dictates the societal interests.
According to Almond et al (2008), individual parties achieve interest aggregation because of their need win elections. Victory in elections is the essential tool for influencing policies. Secondly, they are responsible for the choice of the appropriate candidates to compete in electoral process. Almond et al (2008) observe that the position taken in regard to party candidacy has the backing of a cohesive block of voters. Across the globe, democratic systems comprise dissimilar party systems. There are systems which comprise numerous political parties and there are systems with distinct party systems like the two party systems in the U.S. However, the models used across the globe differ from one another in regard to the nation’s party and democratic traditions (Almond et al, 2008).
The third stage in interest aggregation in competitive party system is the electoral competition. The electoral process affords voters an opportunity to express their political interest in regard to the pre existing political parties and electoral candidates. Almond et al (2008) observe that electoral procedures differ from nation to nation across the globe. However, a system where there is proportional representation across the voting geographical region is preferred. According to Almond et al (2008), under proportional representation, the voting block subdivides into simpler blocks where political parties compete for representation. They then ultimately compete for the political leadership of the overall block.
According to Almond et al (2008), bargaining and alliance formation within the legislature or the executive is quite essential in the process of interest aggregation. In competitive party systems, electoral regulations favor the largest political organizations, persistently disregarding fringe political associations. Nevertheless, formation of alliances may enable evenhanded representation of the majority of pre existing political organizations.
On the other hand, multiparty competition permits the formulation of coalitions among political parties. This eliminates the one party majority so typical of like the British system. Lawson & Poguntke (2011) observe that coalition is vital in the representation of the overall interests of the majority. It afford dissimilar political parties the opportunities to come together and aggregate their interests in regard to given policies. However, Lawson & Poguntke (2011) reiterate the vital role played by the electorates in choosing the direction through both party and electoral aggregation.
Party aggregation takes varied shapes as reflected by the resultant formulated political associations. According to Almond et al (2008), party classification is in terms of their degree of influence or polarization in regard to legislative activities. Across the globe, there exist majority party systems like the two party systems in the U.S or multiparty systems. In the latter, an integration of parties ensures no single party victors in any majority. Such systems have developed regulations that enable the parties to negotiate in the aftermath of elections to formulate governments that reflects the views of the majority.
Almond et al (2008) observe that antagonisms yield consensual, conflictual and consociational party systems. The U.K and the U.S have over the years adopted elaborate consensual systems where principal parties have a relative mutual trust in each other. On the other hand, nations like Russia have perfected a conflictual system of aggregation. In this system, principal parties have great dissimilarity in regard to policies. Ray (2004) describes a consociational system as capable of bridging political dissimilarities amid existent political associations.
Authoritarian Party Systems
According to Almond et al (2008), this system initiates party aggregations amid the party itself and potential affluent business personnel. Furthermore, it takes into consideration landowners and institutional groupings such as the military. Citizens have no opportunity too shape the direction of aggregation within these systems. There are two approaches to this system. The top down approach is a technique where an individual party exercises control over all political resources through the party heads. Affiliations within the party are discouraged together with any attempts of institutional or associational aggregations. This system is associated with the communists' regimes such as China (Almond et al, 2008).
A dissimilar approach is the inclusive party system. According to Almond et al (2008), the ruling party recognizes and supports political groupings within the society. Supports aggregation attempts but discourages groupings posing challenge to its government. Examples include the one party system around Africa. However, this model of governance is usually closely associated with support from military. Almond et al (2008) observe that the resultant of such political systems is the overreliance on the military to quell any potential opposition.
Military and Interest Aggregation
Almond et al (2008) observe that in the aftermath of the Second World War numerous nations assumed military leaderships. This was in reaction to the absence of strong constitutional traditions. However, in absence of strong political systems, the military proved as an effective tool of governance. Almond et al (2008) observe that certain present democracies like Brazil owe its success to the foundations laid by the military. However, they lack an inherent capacity to cultivate an overall interest aggregation within the entire nation.
Over the decades, the globe as witnessed a continued decrement in despotic systems as they gave way to democratic ways. With the fall of the USSR, authoritarian interest aggregation significantly reduced. Single party communist systems still exist and persist to the top down interest aggregation. However, within the democratic societies, parties are significant in shaping political and social economical policies. In regards to this, they posses huge power in nationwide interest aggregation.