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INTERESTS STONE: CHAPTER 10
INTERESTS CHAPTER 10 The quintessential political point of view defines problems not by their causes but by their effects. (Stone, p. 229) • Who is Affected? • How are they affects? • Do they know they have a problem? Citizens don’t enter politics with their interests already defined. Public awareness is the attempt to explain to people what their public interests are.
MAKING INTERESTS IN THE POLIS • Shared group identities broadly shape interests, but the specific content of group interests must still be defined through politics. • Easier to identify common problems than to find common solutions. • Specifying a positive group interest is much harder than articulating a negative one. (That explains why reformist programs are usually far more satisfying in their critique of the present than in the vision of the future. ) (Stone, p. 230) • Health care reform as an example • Leaders emerge and claim to express this group’s concern – Trump as an example
MAKING INTERESTS IN THE POLIS DUAL QUALITY OF INTEREST REPRESENTATION • The artistic and the political • Artistic • Portray an issue • Showing how it effects people • Convincing them the portrait is accurate • Political • Speak for the people • Stand for them • Articulate their wishes in policy debates
MOBILIZING INTERESTS • When people understand their problems are also shared by others and organize to influence policy – that process is mobilization. • Pluralism – dominant from 1950 s to 1970 s • When adverse affects, people will mobilize and affect public policy • Found to be naïve at the least and complacwent about inequality at the best • Older interest groups have advantage to any new ones • Privileged, wealthier, and older interest groups always have advantage
MOBILIZING INTERESTS TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS • Develop from a bottom up strategy, but from preexisting, homogeneous groups with distinct economic and occupational interests (ubsiness, labor and professions). They make up 80% of interest groups. • Businesses and professions in for-profit more power than non-profit • Social Movements – civil rights, environmental protection as examples – depend on patronage from philanthropists who share the cause. • Advocacy organizations for poor and vulnerable people • Organized by professional working in the nonprofit sector.
MOBILIZING INTERESTS CORPORATISM Other countries have a system of representation call ‘corporatism’ to equalize the influence of business and labor in policy making. • In corporatist systems, organized representatives of business and labor participate as equal ‘social partners’ in negotiating all business and employment-related laws and regulations. • Business still has more strength. Some thing Citizens United gave business an even greater leverage in policy development.
MOBILIZING INTERESTS VIOLENT SUPPRESSION Powerful interests sometimes suppress interest mobilization outright Civil Rights movement Brutal violence against labor union organizers Now less overt – Voter suppression “Interest mobilization is crucial to citizens’ capacity to define their problems and link them to policy solutions. In that light, repression, though not part of the standard theories of interest mobilization, is as troubling for democracy as economic inequality and structural imbalances in organization influence. ” (Stone, p. 234)
RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY • Individuals motivated exclusively by the desire to maximize their self-interests. • Mirror image of pluralism – individual affected by common problems will rarely form interest groups. • it’s just human nature – the way humans think. • Obstacles to cooperation • Prisoner’s dilemma • Free-rider problem
COLLECTIVE ACTION IN THE POLIS WHY RATIONAL CHOICE DOESN’T PLAY • First: people don’t live in isolation • Second: in the polis people can and do talk with each other • Third: cooperative efforts generate a kind of perpetual energy that keeps on generating more collective action. • Fourth: participation in collective efforts tends to follow the laws of passion rather than the laws of matter. • Fifth: the Internet and all the various forms of cyber talk dramatically facilitate communication and group action. • Sixth: symbols and ambiguity, so prevalent in the polis, can change the way people interpret their interests and defeat the logic of rational choice.
INTERESTS AND ISSUES DEFINE EACH OTHER • First: people don’t live in isolation • Second: in the polis people can and do talk with each other • Third: cooperative efforts generate a kind of perpetual energy that keeps on generating more collective action. • Fourth: participation in collective efforts tends to follow the laws of passion rather than the laws of matter. • Fifth: the Internet and all the various forms of cyber talk dramatically facilitate communication and group action. • Sixth: symbols and ambiguity, so prevalent in the polis, can change the way people interpret their interests and defeat the logic of rational choice.
WILSON’S TYPES OF POLITICAL CONTESTS
ISSUES AND INTERESTS Policy issues don’t determine the kind of political contests that occur; instead, politics shapes the way policy issues are portrayed and perceived in the first place. Manipulating perceptions of costs and benefits is a key strategy of issue framing and mobilizing interests.
GOOD AND BAD INTERESTS ARE SOME INTERESTS JUST STRONGER THAN OTHERS? • According to rational choice theory, individual interests that can be fulfilled with individualistic, divisible, material means will always triumph over collective, shared, and nonmaterial interests. • According to Wilson’s distribution-of-effects theory, the interests of small minorities who are intensely affected by something will dominate the interests of larage majorities who are only incidentally affected by something. • In the polis – people are concerned with normative values in addition to power dynamics – doing the right thing.
GOOD AND BAD INTERESTS ARE SOME INTERESTS JUST STRONGER THAN OTHERS? • Governments job is precisely to protect weak but legitimate interests against strong but less virtuous ones. • Forms of democracy always share two key assumptions: • Some important good interests are too weak to flourish on their own • One important function of government is to foster these types of interests.
GOOD AND BAD INTERESTS ARE SOME INTERESTS JUST STRONGER THAN OTHERS? GOOD WEAK INTERESTS BAD STRONG INTERESTS • Collective • Individualistic • Diffused • Concentrated • Broad • Narrow • Long-term • Short-term • Spiritual • Material • Social • Economic • Public • Special • ‘The People” • Elites • 99% • 1%