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What are some positive and negative aspects of interest groups?

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Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Interest groups play an important role as the “voice” of the people to advocate for their rights and push forward their agenda. Thus, without some interest groups or pressure groups, the voice and the rights of the people can easily be stifled by a rogue administration.

Certain interest groups are strong enough to influence legislation by convincing legislators to pass laws that protect public interests.

Interest groups also have a responsibility to exercise oversight over decisions made by those in authority. They monitor and take corrective action to address oppressive decisions or actions by the administration.

Although interest groups are essential in any democratic society, they can also pose some challenges to the same society and the government.

Some interest groups are established to protect interests of the powerful. In such a situation, the interest group can use its influence and available funds to corrupt the system to ensure the environment remains favorable for their activities.

Powerful interest groups can also compromise the ability of the government to make decisions, including progressive decisions.

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Michael Koren eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Interest groups have some positive and some negative effects. One the positive side, one factor is that an interest group allows people with a similar belief or interest in an issue to work together in an organized manner. By pooling resources, they can raise funds to spread their message to the American people. They can also become an effective lobbying force with politicians. Politicians may be more willing to listen to an interest group than to a single individual. Interest groups may make it easier for its members to accomplish their goals.

On the negative side, interest groups may become too powerful. They may raise so much money and develop so much clout, that those who have fewer means to spread their message might not have their voices heard. Also, the interest group could put out information that is inaccurate, exaggerated, or half-true. If the public isn’t fully knowledgeable about the issue, they might believe what the group is saying as the truth when in reality it may not be the truth.

Interest groups have both positive and negative sides. Various factors determine if they are good or not so good for the country.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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On the positive side, it can be argued that interest groups enhance our democracy.  They allow the people to have input on issues that they really care about.  They allow that input to be brought to the politicians’ attention all the time, not just at election time.  In these ways, they make for more democracy.

On the negative side, it can be argued that interest groups detract from our democracy.  They help to create at least the impression of corruption because they donate money to politicians.  They also help the rich to have more power than regular people because they use money to obtain access to political officials.

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