Small groups like elite players are much better equipped to get what they want

Small groups like elite players are much better

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Small groups, like elite players, are much better equipped to get what they want In addition, because all the members of a small group usually know each other, the social consequences of inaction are much greater—they risk being chastised by their associates and friends if they do not participate Sociologist Rob Willer has augmented the finding that small groups are better able to succeed in meeting their coordination goals by looking at collective action from the altruism angle o DEF: an action that benefits a group but does not directly benefit the individual performing the action When the group is small, especially when the membership contains elites with access to social and reputational capital, there is a higher likelihood that individuals will act altruistically to promote the goals of that group In a big group of ordinary people, individuals are more likely to worry that their contributions will go unnoticed and that even if their work is recognized, it will not R V CHAPTER 15: AUTHORITY AND THE STATE
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receive valuable reputational boosts because the group has little social capital in the first place Robert Michels , in his study of political parties (1915), concluded that even if they win the game and secure democratic governance, all organizations, no matter how democratic in principle, face coordination problems In large and complex organizations (like a state), the power structure inevitably begins to resemble an oligarchy, a form of government in which power lies with a small group of leaders A bureaucracy is also structured hierarchically, which guarantees that the ultimate decision-making control is in the hands of a few elites at the top of the pyramid Who Rules in the United States? In the US, national-level authority is split among three branches of government, a system intended to maximize legitimacy by ensuring that each branch is “checked and balanced” by the other two The federal government, to the extent allowed by the Constitution, takes precedence over state and local governments That said, the US is a fairly decentralized (i.e. federalist) state in many respects, and individual states make and enforce many of the laws which we are familiar Since the Civil War, American electoral politics have almost always been organized into a two-party system, whereby two political parties have such a monopoly on voters that any other party has a difficult time garnering enough votes to win an election (with some notable exceptions, usually at the state or local level) A political party is an organization that seeks to gain power in a government, generally by backing candidates for office who subscribe (to the extent possible) to the organization’s political ideals In practice, both Democrats and Republicans often hold some combination of the two parties’ stereotypical convictions, and many competing ideologies exist within each party An interest group is an organization that seeks to gain power in government and
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  • Spring '08
  • Weber

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