9-16-09_P200_Notes - American Politics P200 Notes 9/16/09...

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American Politics P200 Notes 9/16/09 Competing Images of American Democracy in Practice Public Choice Theory- Summary -Rational Voter Ignorance: Uninformed, uninterested, apathetic electorate - Policy Process: Opaque and Confusing -High barriers to entry into the process -No Constituency for “Good Government” -Strong incentive for narrow, wealth-maximizing groups to utilize their expertise and resources to lobby for concentrated govt. benefits (aka “Rent Seeking”) -Cost of government inefficiency is dispersed across entire society-benefit is concentrated -Result: Capture or “Government Failure” - Public resources are captured, or utilized inefficiently, by groups who gain and maintain special market benefits through government action -Sound familiar?: Madison Tyranny of the Minority Pluralism-Overview -Groups are the fundamental unit of society -Groups are part of human nature, form naturally and easily -Fragmented governmental system with myriad access points -Political parties, government agencies, courts, elected representatives -Power: fragmented and decentralized -Many different types of power (not just money) -Dispersion of power is desirable in democracy -Resources: widely distributed among groups Pluralists think -Groups -Power is fragmented -Many different kinds -Everyone has some power -Group interaction and bargaining leads to compromise and uncertain outcomes (not always dominated by powerful groups) -Disaggregated decision making and group bargaining binds participants to process -Whereas Stratificationists were generally critical of the system, pluralists are often seen as defenders of status quo Pluralism: Interest Groups -Interest groups, an interest group activity are very important to pluralist -According to Truman (prominent Pluralist), an Interest Group is “… any group that, on the basis of one or more shared attitudes, makes certain claims upon other groups” to further their shared interests -Very broad definition of interest groups
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-Interest group formation and organization is natural, easy, and common. -Human beings “wherever they are observed are creatures participating in groups” (Truman) - Contrast with Olson’s Logic of Collective Action? Interest Group Activity
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2010 for the course PLSI 200 taught by Professor Schendan during the Fall '08 term at S.F. State.

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9-16-09_P200_Notes - American Politics P200 Notes 9/16/09...

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