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Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy Robert Michels (1911) What does his

"Iron Law of Oligarchy" mean, and is it an "iron law"? "It is organisation which gives birth to the domination of the elected over the electors, of the mandatories over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. Who says organisation says oligarchy." The malfunctioning of democracies, in particular leaders dominating society, is not primarily due to low levels of social and economic development, education, or capitalist control of media, etc, but it is a characteristic of any complex social system. Oligarchy is an intrinsic part of bureaucracy or large-scale organisation. It is an unresolvable dilemma: "he cannot have large institutions without turning over effective power to the few who are at the summit of these institutions." Causes of the trend to oligarchy "The principle cause of oligarchy in the democratic parties is to be found in the technical indispensability of leadership." "Large-scale organisations give their officers a near monopoly of power." The problem of administration necessitates bureaucracy. The rice of bureaucracy is increased hierarchal power at the top. Leaders possess many resources, giving them a further advantage. Strengthened by the "incompetence of the masses". The oligarchical phenomenon results partly from psychological causes; the physical transformations which leaders undergo during their lives. They become professional and stable.

What are the implications of "Iron law of oligarchy" for contemporary politics? "Whilst belonging by social position to the class of the ruled, have in fact come to form part of the ruling oligarchy." The leaders of the masses are themselves part of the "power elite," and develop perspectives and movement. "Socialism isn't merely a problem in economics, it is an administrative problem, a problem of democracy." "There is great scientific value in the demonstration that every system of leadership

is incompatible with the most essential postulates of democracy." "The principle cause of oligarchy in the democratic parties is to be found in the technical indispensability of leadership." "The oligarchical structure of the building suffocates the basic democratic principle. That which is oppresses THAT WHICH OUT TO BE." Two regulative principles (page 370) "It is probably that this cruel game will continue without end."

THE LOGIC OF COLLECTIVE ACTION - MANCUR OLSON (1965) What are the problems of collective action? Groups acting in their self-interest does not necessarily logically follow from the principles of rational, self-interested behaviour. Individuals of the group are incentivised to free ride on the efforts of others, in regards to public goods which are non-excludable and non-rival. If the group only provides goods and benefits to active participants, then individuals will not have this incentive.

What are the implications of collective action problems for contemporary politics? Larger groups will incur relatively higher organisational costs as opposed to smaller groups. The individuals in larger groups will have a lower marginal benefit too, as opposed to smaller groups. Group action incentives can diminish as group size increases. Larger groups may therefore be less efficient.