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Politics: Problems and Opportunities

Which party or party coalition controls the government influ-ences the relative importance and impact of the public interest within society. For example, in a democracy, if a left or centre-left government is in office, it is most likely that allied groups (e.g., labor unions and environmental groups) would have more influ-ence on and be consulted more often by the government, whereas business groups usually have wider importance when a conservative government is in office. Often public interests are advanced through politics for the public’s best interest. Politics and public interests are inseparable. Public interests are a preva-lent, permanent, and essential aspect of all political systems, democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian regimes alike. No political campaign would be complete without opponents arguing that their respective policies, even if contradictory with one another, are in the “public interest” or “public’s best interest.” The fact is that determining one from another is blurred and almost impossible, at least doing so in a precise, obvious or deductive way.

Problems and Opportunities Lobbying strategies and tactics

Although strategies and tactics vary between and within political systems, among democracies, it is in the United States that inter-est group activity is most accepted and displays the widest range of tactics. In order to accomplish public interest goals, interest groups develop a strategy or plan of action and execute it through specific tactics. Research conducted in the United States provides major insights into the factors that determine interest group influence. Money is important in explaining the influence (or lack thereof) of interest groups, but, contrary to what might be believed by the public, it is not simply money that determines political clout. Factors determining the influence of individual interest groups include the group’s financial resources, the mana-gerial and political skills of its leaders, the size and cohesiveness of its membership, and political timing, presenting an issue when the political climate is right. The United States system designed by its founders, safeguards or prevents government action. The so-called “advantage of the defense” operates. All Public Inter-est has to do to stop a proposal is to get a sympathetic committee chair in the legislature to oppose it or a President or Governor to veto it. To get a proposal enacted requires that it clear hurdles in both houses of the legislature and be signed by the Executive. A country’s political climate influences strategies taken by interest groups. Which party is in power (such as one favorably disposed to an interest group’s agenda), the major issues facing the government, and the country’s budget circumstances will influ-ence the types of strategies an interest group uses. In the United States groups pursue a different strategy when the Republicans are in power in Washington, D.C., and in the states than when the Democrats are in power. As a philosophy in the interest of indi-vidualism and economic values there are three central principles. First, it is human centered. Values are based on the needs of hu-mans, not society. Second, social and government institutions are a means to satisfy individual needs. Third, individualism is of supreme value, not the society, and that all individuals are of equal moral value.

Public’s Interest and Public’s Best Interest share an artificial distinction because they have soft boundaries and inevitable meld. There is a distinction, even somewhat unrealistic, in that it reflects two largely separate points .

Written by Sante Furio

PhD in Business Adminstration


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