Table of Contents 

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Alfred de Grazia:



CHAPTER FIVE presented the view that no arrangement of representation, no system of election, can be neutral. By any arrangement, some broad value or values, of a majority, of a local region, of an economic or of some other type of group, will be pushed a little deeper into the character of the government. Political parties are of especial relevance, since they have the stated goals of representing certain values and interests in the government that differ from the preferences of their opponents. This characteristic bent of political parties is manifested clearly in countries that have several parties. Parties in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and other lands are often small and vociferous on behalf of minority interests. In America, where the major parties differ over principles so broad and vague as to be sometimes impossible to discover, party statements often cloak the struggle of values and interests that continually agitate the internal life of the party.


The pressure group is on another level of the conflict of values with which politics is concerned. The pressure group in America commonly is called the lobby, and the image of the lobby that many Americans carry in their minds is not a flattering one. They visualize several well-paid, suave gentlemen who, knowing all there is to know about the inner workings of legislatures, use fair means or foul to induce legislators to raid the public treasury. In essence, however, the pressure group is simply any organized social group that seeks to influence the behavior of political officers without seeking formal control of the government. The lobby is one type of pressure group whose agents apply whatever influence they may command directly upon the legislators.


In modern society, pressure groups can be found among the numerous voluntary associations, such as labor unions, trades associations, and reform groups, that have some intercst at stake in politics. However, essentially the same phenomenon as the modern pressure-group existed in other times when society was not so mobile and associations not so voluntary.

"Almost every interest in medieval society," writes Helen Gam "almost every element in its make-up, has left its trace on the legislation of council and parliament." [1] She listed the principal sources of legislative activity as: "The directive or planning urge in the ruler, the need for clarifying and defining experience by the judicature, and the demand from the ruled for redress of grievances. " This last source, "public" demand, meant, especially by the end of the fifteenth century, about what it means today, although the interests have changed somewhat. The medieval pressure-groups were the legal profession, the clergy, the nobility, the landowners, the sheriffs and bailiffs, the merchants, and the leaders of localities. Also, developing continuously as an influence on lawmaking through the late medieval and early modern periods was the notion of the commonweal, often a mere pretense or rationalization and yet often truly advanced.

Modern pressure-groups have grown in close relation to the various party systems. When there are many parties, a number of such interest groups can be absorbed into the party system. Then the problem of pressure groups becomes almost inextricable from the general study of the political parties. In England, where one kind of two-party system exists, pressure groups play a role different from the role they play in America, where another kind of two-party system exists. In England, until recently, a small group drawn from the same social class had been able to represent dominant landed, religious and commercial interests. Many members of Parliament incarnated the values that might have otherwise prompted strong and numerous pressure groups.

But in America, society has been for a long time relatively classless. The politician has been an individualist, footloose by comparison with his British counterpart, free to bargain and willing to deal with a variety of opposing groups. Furthermore, the American economy is tremendously diversified, the population exceedingly heterogeneous, and the political structure greatly decentralized and unintegrated. The formal structure of the government cannot reflect faithfully any large part of the interests, which must seek informal ways of influencing the government.

An analysis of seventy parliamentary enactments of 1936-37 by Professor W. Ivor Jennings shows that private interests do inspire legislation but also reveals how orderly is the process by which the interests affect the British law. If we abstract, not without some loss of realism, the data furnished by Professor Jennings on the informal sources of law, we find that, of the 70 enactments, the sources of 9 lay in Cabinet policy, of 27 in the departments of the government, of 7 in a combination of departmental and pressure-group interests, of 5 in a combination of departmental and local authorities, of 3 in combinations of individual members and pressure groups, of 3 in pressure groups, of 2 in local authorities, of 2 in combinations of departments, pressure groups, and local authorities, and of 1 each in 10 different elements or combinations of elements.

Thus, if one may take 1936 as a usual year, one may conclude that local authorities and pressure groups are active in the British legislative process. Scrutiny of the many sources reveals, however, that English pressure groups and authorities operate more publicly and with more formality than do pressure groups in American legislatures. Furthermore, British interests appear to be tamed by Cabinet and department to an extent undreamed of in American legislatures. The external interests are operative, but in a consultative and organized fashion. The looseness, informality, and mystery of American lobbying is mainly absent.


This chapter will distinguish degrees of organization in the pressure groups. Beginning with the sporadic attempts of individuals to influence the government, we shall move on to discuss the pressure group as it has developed in the United States, and we shall conclude by describing the cases in which pressure groups have been integrated into the government and made responsible for public duties. On each level of organization, we shall be concerned with appraising the social groups producing the pressure, the amount and the impact of such pressure, and the techniques of the groups.



Analysis of voting behavior shows that economic and social interests condition the way many people vote. Although we certainly cannot make the statement that most people are obviously motivated by their own immediate interests when they cast their vote, there does seem to be some relation between the way people vote and their economic and social levels. Many people vote the way they think will benefit most immediately their pockets or their particular religious, nationality, local, or racial groups. Furthermore, many voters are active in politics and seek their personal interests through the political party.


We are concerned here with those politists who, without belonging to continuously organized groups, still exert pressure on the government over and above their party or voting activities. Among them would be individuals who seek favors of some sort from the government, ranging from an exception to a municipal zoning ordinance to the granting of a contract for a huge dam that the state or national government intends to construct. Among them also would be the individual advocates of "causes," ranging from the construction of a municipal swimming pool to the establishment of a national bird sanctuary.

The number of such persons, contrary to popular belief, is not infinite. The active public, we have pointed out, is not large. A single citizen, inspired by an intense selfish or altruistic purpose, can exert an influence greatly disproportionate to his numerical influence as one of 180,000,000 people. Most politicians who have had any considerable experience in public life can name specific individuals in their constituencies who are intensely interested in some aspect of politics and who persist in making their influence felt. For example, almost every politician who has had a hand in any legislation concerning the conservation or destruction of wild life will have heard from one active woman who has devoted much of her adult life to influencing public attitudes towards wild-life conservation.

Whatever the country, so few people pay attention to the workings of government that anyone who will spend a few hours a month on some subject of government over a long period of time can become a leader of opinion and action. This is true not only of party politics but also of activity in any one of the hundreds of areas in which the government is doing something-the control of floods in the Dakotas (or in China, for that matter), the habits of the Navaho Indians, the tax rate on personal property, the problems of sewage disposal in Chicago, or the construction of a superhighway.

"'I'he wheel that squeaks, gets the grease." A mere handful of individuals, raising a clamor that cannot be stilled by constitutional means, can embarrass, badger, and even control a politician, a party, or an agency of government. Citizens who discover this fact for the first time are as astonished as the small boy who enters a great cavern and hears the resounding echo of his shouts. A few people are permanently unbalanced by the shock. They become experts on everything, and appear at every stage of the legislative process, as drunk with power as ever a government official might be. Their entrance on the scene of a meeting, hearing, or conference brings shudders to those acquainted with them.


Unfortunately, no formula can say which of these various individual pressures that have been described are good and which bad. Pressure in itself, obviously, is neither good nor bad. One can influence the government to his own financial profit; but one can also influence the government to relieve famine in India. This is as true of individuals we are now discussing as of the social groups we shall discuss below. The student must determine in his own mind the extent to which the pressure of an individual or group is for an unjustified personal benefit or for a justified larger cause.

If one has no settled standards for making such evaluations, he ought to turn to some of the moral philosophers for help. Aristotle's Ethics, Plato's Republic, Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, Augustine's Confessions, Dante's Divine Comedy, and Spinoza's Ethics are only a few of the older works that can help one to formulate his ethical position on general questions of politics. The problem is not an easy one, and we shall touch on it again in the next to last chapter.

Nowhere is it more apparent than in the debate over pressure politics that most people consider their own ideas legitimate and true and those of their opponents illegitimate and false. The mere fact that a person advocates reforms on behalf of others does not argue in itself for his goodness. Napoleon almost ruined France by policies that sought glory for that country.


Perhaps we can say, however, that the nature of politics over most of history has been such that the individuals one finds on the political scene seem to be motivated most of the time by a desire to benefit themselves. They are in the business of influencing politics for "what they can get out of it." Applying only the simple index of honesty about money, one rarely finds a society whose politicians are not widely suspected of greed, and one also rarely finds a society in which a person could not purchase disproportionate political influence.


Money has been used often by officials or private individuals to influence other officials. King George III spent so much money buying seats in the House of Commons that his broker warned him of approaching private bankruptcy. Benedict Arnold tried to sell out West Point to the British for £ 10,000 during the Revolutionary War. Before the Reform Act of 1832, some members of the British House of Commons would sell their vote for the going price of one guinea and a free meal each day of the parliamentary session. Certain American financiers made deal after deal with a notorious boss of Tammany Hall under a kind of syndicate arrangement for their mutual profit. The boss died in disgrace, but his partners lived respectable lives.

Money also has been used by individuals to influence the public. A well-known mayor of a large American city, who is recorded historically as a reform mayor, had accumulated a fortune in public utilities promotion by manipulations of questionable legality. Later he used his wealth to achieve efficient and honest government, having spent his money freely to become elected and to stay in office. The transformation of John D. Rockefeller is similar. A part of his fortune was accumulated by collusions to raise the prices people had to pay for oil; much of it was spent later in philanthropic enterprises benefiting the public. The prominence of the public relations expert today goes back to the success of Rockefeller's public relations adviser, who influenced the industrialist and financier to clear his name with the public by means of large-scale philanthropy.

Many different kinds of people-campaign managers, government executives, diplomats, corporate businessmen, and speculative businessmen-have used money to accomplish their purposes. A Senate committee investigation during Taft's administration discovered that supporters of the candidate who won election to the United States Senate from Illinois had contributed $235,000 to a "jack pot" for the Illinois legislators. The "jack pot" was a pool of "contributions," one sum for a favorable vote on utilities, another sum for a "correct" vote on a tax bill, and so on for other purposes. At the end of the session, the representatives that had voted "right" were given a share of the loot.


No period of American history evidences quite the picture of purity the idealistic citizen dreams of. Certain periods of political history seem particularly venal and corrupt. Yet often the same periods show a lofty and religious dedication to public tasks on the part of some elements of the population. The Civil War and Reconstruction had this double character. Americans sacrificed careers, fortunes, and even their lives in the War and in the reform movements afterwards. Yet scandals were frequent during and after the War. Individuals speculated in stocks, bonds, and commodities on the basis of inside information they possessed as government officials. Others were partners to grafting and bribery. State and local as well as national government experienced investigations and disclosures that shocked the idealistic and seemingly confused the cynics. It was, said Henry Adams, an age of damaged reputations.

The prohibition period in America produced similar behavior. A large number of prohibition agents were fired or convicted of crimes during the "great experiment." Indeed, new cases of official profiteering are revealed each month in the country's newspapers. Often the transactions reported are shady rather than illegal. For example, the Chicago Downs Association, which runs harness racing in Cicero, Illinois, was shown in 1951 to have sold stock at $.10 a share to a number of politicians on whose good will the Association depended. The $.10 stock paid dividends of $1.75 a share in two years.

Some diplomats of all nations have promoted business enterprise for their own financial gain in the areas of the world to which they have gone. We are not speaking here of "dollar diplomacy," which is a legitimate, though disputed, policy of a government to help its nationals expand and protect their business enterprise abroad. We are speaking rather of the numerous ways in which diplomats and other public representatives have increased their private holdings with the help of their public office. A Roman provincial governor or general expected to return to Rome as a very wealthy man. Only rarely, as in the case of Verres, who was prosecuted successfully by Cicero for stripping Sicily of its wealth, did the law interfere with private gains.

Venetian and British naval officers and privateers were for centuries commissioned to take what they could find and to keep a part of it for themselves. No army of invasion or occupation, even today, moves into foreign territory without its complement of uniformed (or official civilian) speculators, promoters, and businessmen. Private trading and transportation companies often maintain little "diplomatic services" of their own. The British East India Company was notorious for its ability to influence politics wherever its stations were established. The families of Christian missionaries to Hawaii became active leaders of island politics and built great fortunes in business there. Certain airlines have policy-influencing organizations not only in their country of origin but wherever their planes alight.


The great profits to be obtained from holding public office often have fostered the practice -of selling offices to the highest bidder or at a fixed price. The sale of offices was nearly a universal practice in the seventeenth century in Europe and has been found throughout the world at various times. In the seventeenth century one might buy a governorship of Syria for 60,000 ducats from the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, any city office in Milan, a judgeship from Frederick III of Brandenburg, a clerkship of assize from an English sheriff, the office of sheriff in Mexico for 122,740 pesos, and a judgeship in the High Court of Paris for 18,000 livres. Profits from office salaries, fees, and graft made the investments good ones; but in many countries, notably France and Spain, the prices of offices soared also because of the social prestige accruing to the holder of official position. The practice harms the efficiency of an administrative machine and prevents control over it. It is prevalent under aristocratic governments that have a large bureaucracy, but the American spoils system is somewhat like the sale of office. Thus a wealthy man who gives liberally to the national party that wins an election may hope for an ambassador's post and the prestige that goes with it. Instances of more direct payments disclosed that and a Rhode are not lacking. Congressional hearings in 1951 federal offices in Mississippi were being sold, Island grand jury in the same year indicted several Woonsocket officials for selling city jobs.


Individual corporate businessmen become factors in politics, willing or not. On the even of Nazi triumph in Germany, twenty German industrialists were called to an "important" conference. There they were introduced by Hjalmar Schacht to Adolf Hitler. They listened to a passionate harangue against communism and were dunned for 3,000,000 re1C11Smark. Not a few American businessmen have been on the "sucker list" of Gerald K. Smith and other extremists, just as not a few professional men and humanitarians have been on the lists of leftist agitators. Some of them are induced to pay the piper even if they are unwilling to dance the tune.


What do they all want-these millions of people who since the beginning of recorded history have used money to get something extra out of politics? Their motives and values are as complex and numerous as are those of the leaders, the mass of voters, and the party members that we have discussed in the four preceding chapters. Some seek power for its own sake, as did Julius Caesar when he distributed his wealth among the Roman citizens. Others seek wealth by converting a smaller amount of wealth into power and then cashing in on the conversion, as did Cameron. Others seek social respect as did Rockefeller in his old age and Boss Croker of Tammany, who spent his graft in easy retirement as a country squire and breeder of race horses in Ireland. Many seek protection from imminent peril; among this kind would be those who bribed or bought their way out of the ranks of the Revolutionary and Civil War armies, and the shopkeepers and tavern owners who have paid sums of money to officials to remain in business in eighteenth-century France, pre-Revolutionary America, twentieth-century United States, and elsewhere.

Some pay directly to obtain "efficiency" in government, because if they rely on the law and administration alone they cannot get their due. They must pay for a pension that is theirs by right, a license that they are qualified to receive, a paper that they are entitled to possess, a damage settlement they deserve, a promp administrative action that never should have been delayed. Some find sport in the game of influencing politics; they like to be on the "inside" or "in the know." But, of course, a great many of these people who attempt to influence government have identified themselves with the cause of others. For example, they may feel uncomfortable when they perceive suffering around them or even across the world, or they may worry about the discomfort of the next generation should it be saddled with a huge public debt.


It is sometimes difficult to determine whether a particular attempt to influence politics is the act of an individual qua individual or qua public official or group member. One would find it hard to decide, for example, whether a good part of Thomas Jefferson's huge correspondence was private or public; his private letters often discuss and take a position on public matters. Public office even seems to deprive a man of his right to a private character. Edward VIII of England found that he could not be both King of England and husband of Mrs. Simpson. Secretary of State Acheson met with hostility when he attempted to draw a line between his "private" friendship for Alger Hiss and his official conduct towards a convicted perjuror.

Such problems arise because in the process of influencing politics, individuals move in and out of pressure groups. They act as individuals; they act also as group representatives. A common question asked by legislators of witnesses in hearings before a committee is: "Do you come in a private capacity or do you claim to represent some group?" Sometimes a person leads several lives. The German millionaire, Stinnes, was a member of the Reichstag, a contributor to parties, an owner of influential newspapers, and the controller of large traction interests in the Ruhr Valley with political influence. He was thus a representative being pressured by himself as the agent of himself.

Sometimes even the advocates of a similar point of view are divided. They are not sufficiently organized to know whether they are representing only themselves or others. Is there a single "business lobby," or are there many business lobbies, or are there many individual businessmen who are expressing their views? Only a careful analysis of the facts of a single case can tell whether the opinion being expressed and the pressure being exerted is that of one individual, of several individuals, or of a continuously organized group. Obviously, the attitude that the official, the press, the public, and all other interested parties will take towards the expression or activity will be influenced by the result of such an analysis. Laws regulating lobbies have sometimes stumbled over this distinction between individual and group pressures, finding it hard to draw in legal language. Lone individuals attempt to masquerade as representatives of large groups; representatives of large groups attempt to evade regulation and acquire an air of neutrality by parading as individuals. (However, suspicion can be carried too far; writers who are prone to scent garbage in a rose garden will find in every individual's attempt to influence government a tightly organized and corrupt conspiracy.)


Usually pressure groups originate in the felt needs and shared sympathies of individuals concerned with some subject of politics. Wild-flower lovers form leagues to protect wild flowers; haters of drunkenness gather to form temperance unions or antisaloon leagues. The telltale mark of the true lobby is the lobbyist, the professional hireling of the interested group. He is working year in and year out to influence legislation. His presence is continuously felt. No difficulty in distinguishing special cases can conceal the important special effects of this kind of pressure.


The heavy impact of the lobby was felt for the first time in America before the Civil War. In 1857, a noted economist, Henry C. Carey, wrote to President Buchanan that the legislation of the country had fallen into the hands of the shipping and railroad interests. Ten years before, he wrote, one would have been thought a false prophet if he had predicted "that there would have arisen a `third house of Congress'-composed of lobby members and embracing men who had filled almost the highest legislative and executive offices-abundantly supplied, to use the words of Colonel Benton, `with the means required for conciliating members and combining interests,' and thus securing the passage of almost any bill, the applicants were willing, sufficiently liberally, to pay."


The techniques first used by American lobbyists were, as Carey indicates, quite crude. The primary ones were bribery, sharing the profits of new ventures, personal supplication, and lavish entertainment. The results were startling. Never had so many been bought for so little. Huge tracts of land, vast natural resources, precious public rights were dispensed to special interests. The popular clamor against lobbies became frightening at times, but it was of doubtful effect. Actually political scientists scarcely understand what caused the gradual transition from the crude methods and wholesale plunder of two generations ago to the more genteel techniques and more acceptable objectives of the pressure groups today. It may have been popular anger that played the major role in tempering the old type of lobbying, or it may have been the very multiplication of lobbies that produced better-behaved pressure groups.

During the last decades of the nineteenth century, in any event, and concurrently with the popular movements against political corruption, there came on the scene the opposition lobbies. Where there had been only lumbermen's lobbies, there were now conservation lobbies. Where there had been only railroad lobbies, there were now farmers' lobbies. Where there had been only public utility lobbies, there were now public ownership lobbies. School lobbies arose to contest economy lobbies. Labor lobbies entered the arena against industrial lobbies. Elected representatives who had lost their equilibrium as the result of one force moved about now in a more stable balance of forces.


Furthermore, the techniques and objectives of the lobbies had to change. The lobby-that is, the group directly influencing lawmakers-grew into the pressure group, a broader social organization that made direct lobbying only a part of its total operations. Less money was spent on buying votes and more on persuading representatives. Crude demands had to be fashioned (and changed somewhat in the process) into the "legitimate" requests of interests whose "well-being was important to the country as a whole."

Public relations became an object of much concern to the leaders of pressure groups. The public was informed by all means possible of the "reasonableness" of a group's needs, and attempts were made to convince the representatives that the cause of a particular lobby was just by the weight of logic, information, and press comment. Furthermore, the pressure groups had to acquire constituencies. Their voice was more effective when it was known that they spoke on behalf of thousands of organized citizens. Representatives listened and attended more carefully to particular interests if they knew such interests carried large numbers of votes on election day.

By such means and in such ways did the lobbies transform themselves into the pressure groups that are to be found today. They are highly organized; they claim large membership lists; they have agents who are skilled in persuasion and public relations; they insist that their purposes are consonant with the public welfare.

Business, labor, farm, and "reform" pressure groups are found in all modern nations where social groups are free to combine, to govern themselves, and to exert pressure on political affairs. Where several religious groups exist, we find religious pressures. Where several nationalities are present, we find nationality pressures. Where there are notable social and economic differences between one part of a country and another, we find local pressure groups. An estimate of the United States Office of Domestic Commerce in 1950 found 150 national labor groups and 40,000 to 50,000 local labor organizations; 150 national agricultural organizations and 14,000 to 15,000 local ones; and over 3,000 national business groups and some 20,000 local ones.


The total number of lobbying pressure groups in the United States, where the pressure group phenomenon is most strikingly demonstrated, is unknown. One reason for this ignorance, alluded to earlier, is that a lobby or a pressure group is difficult to define. Is a university that, in trying to get large appropriations for educational purposes, sends its skilled administrative and faculty personnel before legislative committees to be considered a lobby? Most state universities have such "lobbies," but they are rarely, if ever, registered under state or federal lobbying acts. Other state and federal agencies also have lobbies, and they, too, are not registered. Are newspaper publishers who attempt to influence legislators to be called lobbyists? Apparently they, too, escape most registration laws. Another reason for our ignorance is that lobbies are not required to register in almost half the states and in most cities and counties; yet there are local as well as national lobbies. Furthermore, a lobby in one state is not defined as a lobby in another, so that one has no reliable standard of comparison. And if one took lobbying in its broader pressure-group sense, every organized group with political interests would come under the term.

No one, however, would dispute the statement that the number of pressure groups maintaining lobbyists amounts to several thousands, including about eighteen-hundred organizations actively engaged in influencing legislative and administrative opinion in Washington, a hundred or so in the more populous states, and an unknown number in the fifty largest cities. The amount of money spent for lobbying in Washington alone each year is at a minimum six million dollars and at a maximum, depending on whether one counts all public relations expenditures as lobbying, well over ten million dollars. This amount, if multiplied by four, exceeds easily the total spent by the national political parties on national campaigns over each four year period. In the states, though our information is even less accurate, the lobbies perhaps spend annually more than the state and local political parties do. The total expenditures in the country for all influencing of opinion with an eye to legislative policy would be even more staggering.


What are the top lobbies in the government? A list of the chief lobbies active in Washington would, without doubt, include the Committee for Constitutional Government, National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce of the United States, National Association of Electric Companies, American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), railway brotherhoods (several unions), American Farm Bureau Federation, National Grange, National Farmers Union, American Medical Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Veterans Committee, National Council of Churches of Christ in America, General Federation of Women's Clubs, and League of Women Voters.

It may be observed that the list of lobbies breaks rather easily into the categories of business, labor, farmer, church, and reform, with the exception of the veterans' lobbies. The Townsend National Recovery Plan lobby is typical of a large group of lobbies, not listed here, the objectives of which are reforms of many kinds-humanitarian, financial, prohibitive, or educational. The predominance of business, labor, and farm interests is significant. Beyond doubt it is these three parts of modern society that have found the traditional representative system unresponsive to their needs. To find business and labor pressure-groups is not surprising; businessmen and workers are urban phenomena, and form minorities even in the cities.

To find farm pressure-groups is more surprising, for, as we pointed out in our discussion of representation, farmers are overrepresented in almost all American legislatures (if we take the position that equal populations should send equal numbers of representatives to the legislatures). However, the farmers nationally are a minority group, and they find pressure politics as useful in gaining their own ends, as do other minority groups. There are other reasons for the farmers having a national lobby. They are isolated; under ordinary conditions they do not find it easy to organize for political activity. Their incomes are middle or lower class; they cannot bring immediate financial pressure to bear on opposing politicians. Only by belonging to a large oganization, permanently administered, and supplied by small dues from thousands of farmers, can they acquire effective spokesmen for their immediate interests.


None of the groups mentioned, however -business, labor, farmers, or any other large segment of the population - is organized as a unit. For example, we cannot speak of "business" as a pressure group; there are many pressure groups based on business interests. There exist organizations of industrialists, exporters, shippers, railroads, fruit growers, fashion designers; national, New England, Western, and Southern manufacturing interests; small businessmen, stock brokers, and a number of other business groups. It is true that several threads of common interest unite most of them. They incline towards conservatism; they do not favor high taxes on corporations or personal income; they tend to dislike government regulations of any large part of the economy; they oppose active support of labor unions by the government. But they differ and even conflict in many ways. Manufacturers' lobbies may oppose the shippers' and railroads' demand for higher freight rates. The manufacturers of fashionable textiles may join with certain industrial interests to favor high tariffs and find opposition from exporters and maritime interests. New England manufacturers may support legislation to increase wages throughout the nation in order to fight off the threat posed to New England industry by low wages in the South. The coal industry will sit by while the oil industry tries to fight off government controls; and the oil industry hardly protests when the government forces the coal industry to pay higher wages to the coal miners.


Yet certain tendencies towards the centralization of business policies have been apparent for a half-century, beginning with the founding of the National Association of Manufacturers and the growth of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Whatever agreement may be present among most of the interests of American business seems to find its way into the policies of these national pressure-groups. No one, however, should make the mistake of believing that the policies of these agencies reflect the deliberations of many thousands of their members. As in most trade associations and pressure organizations, a small group of members lead and speak on behalf of the whole membership, and even on behalf of the whole area of the economy or of the whole country. But one would be foolish to believe, and no Congressman or official does believe, that the National Home and Property Owners' Foundation, for example, is fully supported by and acts in accord with the desires of the millions of American home and property owners throughout the country. Nevertheless, a genuine point of view is being expressed by the Foundation; it represents a solid bloc of opinion and power. The legislator may take it, or leave it, or, even better, evaluate it along with other interests of his constituents.


In Europe, business pressures evolved in somewhat the same way as they did in America. As we shall see in the third section of this chapter, European industry has in certain crucial cases moved out of pressure politics into the government itself. But, as in America, the business interests of Europe have fought amongst themselves. There has not been one line of policy; there have been many. As Roberto Michels wrote during the twenties:

Homogeneity is wanting in the businessman type, even when for defensive or offensive reasons of foreign or internal politics the various types sometimes become allies to the point of forming an apparently compact elite. Such occasional apparent compactness does not prevent there being in the bosoms of the elites traces (visible to the naked eye of anybody whose glance is not dimmed by arch-socialist or arch-middle class prejudices) of strongly different types of economic elites, such as the great professional and patrimonial rentiers, the great industrial and landed interests, the great bankers and the great speculators, the great exporters and the great importers. [2]


Nor is the American working force united as a pressure group. There are wide cleavages in personalities and policies among its leaders. Their spokesmen, when they testify before congressional committees and speak privately to legislators, claim to represent fifteen million workers. They favor government intervention on matters of wages and hours in the poorest sections of the economy. They seek legislation that makes it easier for them to increase their membership and fight opposition from business management. But they disagree on other important issues. Some favor governmental ownership of basic industries and resources. Some oppose this. Some leaders take positions on issues concerning foreign affairs and fiscal policy that others regard as beyond the appropriate sphere of labor pressure-group influence.

In some localities, the unions may be joined with the Republican Party, although in most the unions pledge their support to Democrats. Moreover, in many places, each individual local union may endorse individual political candidates and need not adhere to any general unified program of political action. Some unions are politically energetic; some are apathetic; some are almost parts of the local political organization of a major party; others endorse men from both parties. Both individual unions and state organizations of unions may be active at the same time in the halls of the same state legislature, one proposing policies different from those of the other.

Finally we should mention that there are same sixty-six million employed persons in the United States. The overwhelming majority of workers in factories, farms, and offices are not organized by occupation in any fashion. They are affected by, but do not participate in, the pressure-group process, not even in the remote sense that a cinder-snapper participates in the decisions made by the president of the AFL-CIO.


On the whole, American labor unions are less active politically than the European unions. Collective bargaining is the chief justification of American unionism, which tends to stay within the bounds of the traditional economic definition of unions as monopolistic sellers of labor engaged in maximizing the wage bill of an industry. In France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Britain, the labor unions strive for the greater glories of politics, often, like the British Labour Party, affiliating directly with political parties.

Most European unions strongly advocate the nationalization of basic industries by the government, while American unions often are neutral or split over government ownership of basic industries. The American unions place much more reliance on pressure-group politics than do the European union. This is partly because European labor is more politically bent, partly because the multiparty system allows labor unions to dominate certain parties, and partly because European labor has often faced a class-dominated political elite that was implacably opposed to the interests of workers.


Farmers, unlike union workers, may belong to several organizations at the same time. An Ohio farmer, for example, may belong to a dairy association, a live stock association, and one or more general associations. Most of the organized farmers of America fall into three large general associations. The offices of these organizations conduct vigorous lobbies in the national capital, in almost all state capitals, and in many local communities. The three major farm organizations are the Farm Bureau Federation, the National Grange, and the Farmers Union. The Farm Bureau Federation is the largest and most influential of the three. Its policies favor government assistance to farmers by means of loans, crop controls to prevent "overproduction," and a variety of technical assistance. The Grange was once a great force for government regulation of the industries and interests that served and often "enslaved" the farmers, but it has evolved into the most conservative of the three groups. The Farmers Union is the most radical of the three and proposes more than the Farm Bureau Federation in the way of government protection for farmers, public ownership of utilities, transport, and storage facilities, and co-operation with consumer and labor groups against the policies of business interests.

In Europe and England, the policies of the farmers' associations tend to resemble those of the Farmers Union. They are staunch advocates of agricultural and other co-operatives as a means by which producers and buyers may control the mark-up of prices on the things they need. They are friendly to the socialist labor movement, and they are active on behalf of government aid to rural development of electric power, housing, transportation, and education. Often they urge the requisitioning of large estates and their fragmentation into small farms for the benefit of landless tenant farmers.


The business, labor, and farmer pressure-groups mentioned are the major elements in the total pressure-group picture. But other groups are important. Veterans groups, for example, are very powerful. The American Legion is known to influence legislation not only on matters directly affecting veteransproblems concerning pensions, health, and bonuses for war service-but also on matters of social and economic policy. Its leadership agrees on the whole with the philosophy of government expressed by the National Association of Manufacturers and the United States Chamber of Commerce.


It is much less easy to describe the myriad "reform" groups that inhabit the legislative corridors. Some of them, like the League of Women Voters, are old, trusted, and skilled representatives of opinion on problems affecting governmental structure and efficiency of government, as well as on matters affecting the legal and political status of women. Others, although adhering to a noble general purpose, propose schemes the principal effect of which is to frighten legislators into voting for measures more likely to achieve the noble purpose without disaster to the economy.


Here and there during the discussion, we have mentioned several of the methods by which pressure groups have operated. In describing the ways in which individuals have made themselves effective in politics, we mentioned that merely "being around" the places where political events are occurring produces influence over a period of time. Calling, writing, and "buttonholing" representatives and administrators is effective when done by individuals simply because, even in a democratic society, few people do such things. To these techniques we added the materialistic weapons of the individual and of the primitive lobby-the speculative collusion, the bribe, lavish gifts and entertainment, and solicitation in an atmosphere of intimidation.

We then mentioned the techniques of the modern lobbies proper. Information is provided legislators to aid them in voting "right" on an issue. The pressure group hires skilled and professional lobbyists. It reformulates its special needs into a program of legislation that allegedly will benefit a large part of society and the best interests of the nation. It conducts vigorous recruiting campaigns to get as many members as possible; this is done to impress legislators or administrators with the wide popular demand for the lobbyist's program. It tries to activate this largely passive membership as much as possible, exhorting them at the proper time to exert individual pressures on their representatives. Several pressure groups have gone into the "publishing business" as a way of avoiding both the stigma of the word "lobby" and the regulations imposed upon lobbies as legally defined. For example, the Committee for Constitutional Government, a strong opponent of governmental intervention in economic life, announced in 1944 that in seven years it had sent out 82,000,000 pieces of literature, 10,000 transcriptions for radio programs, 350,000 telegrams, and many thousands of news releases, all, of course, favoring its point of view. Some 700,000 copies of one book alone were distributed nationally by the Committee in 1949 and 1950.


In addition, each major type of lobby employs techniques of persuasion and influence appropriate to its particular kind of strength. Business groups, as has been indicated, do not typically operate in close-knit organizations. The peak cartels and the top trade associations may on critical occasions band together for a time, but they have always been a minority influence, even when popular myth regards them as ruling the government. Sporadic clusters of businessmen pay to influence politics. Thus, about twenty wealthy men gave a few thousand dollars apiece to Truman's campaign in 1948 and helped him to raise about a million dollars besides. In the localities, businessmen are much more likely to spend money for direct political returns. Notable among such persons are real-estate men and businessmen who are dependent to some extent on government contracts or good will-contractors, lawyers, automobile dealers, insurance agents, and utilities executives.

Although there is some evidence that in Germany, France, and Italy, the leaders of large industrial aggregates have organized their personnel and equipment directly for political warfare, for the most part, the huge material and manpower resources under the command of the industrial managers have been employed, if at all, only for passive resistance. The Boston merchants in 1769 used nonimportation agreements against English goods to force the revocation of import duties. They punished their unco-operative fellow-merchants by boycotting them, by proclaiming them enemies of their country in town meetings, by stoning and smearing their houses, and even by beatings. When modern American industrialists, bankers, and realtors have on exceptional occasions resisted government intervention, they have done so by instituting interminable legal controversies and by slowing up co-operation, rather than by covert conspiracy.

Finally, we ought to add, in speaking of the techniques of business pressure groups, that businessmen and their allies from the press, the legal profession, and finance have commonly made their influence felt on government by doubling their jobs; that is, possessed of more personal resources and freedom of movement than other occupational interests, they have been able to accept appointive positions in many offices of the government.


Labor pressure-groups operate through their organizations more than do businessmen. They can, of course, call on the rock bottom methods of exerting economic, social, and political pressures-the strike and the boycott of products the manufacturers of which are considered hostile to labor, and there have been a number of industry-wide strikes, partly political in purpose; but there has never been a general strike of all union labor throughout the nation, for American labor has never been sufficiently organized or politically motivated to carry out a general strike.

A general strike has never yet been purely economic in nature. It has always been a means of exerting direct political pressure to destroy an opposing political alignment or defeat a threat to the interests of labor. Belgium, England, France, Italy, and other lands have had general strikes during this century. The Belgian strike of 1893, which had to do with a demand for the extension of suffrage to all workers, was notably successful. In most other cases, internal difficulties in the strike movement and vociferous public reaction to the complete cessation of productive and service activities strengthened the hand of the opposition power.

For two generations in Europe and England and for the last generation in America, labor unions have used their organization and manpower for direct intervention in politics. Since personal persuasion is one of the most effective of campaign techniques, the group that can activate its membership during political campaigns and between campaigns will add considerably to its strength in politics. The rise of the English Labour Party to its present position is due in great measure to the ability of the labor leaders to call on their rank and file for the interminable but vital chores of bell-ringing, pamphlet distribution, and getting out the favorable vote.

Where the same techniques have been applied in America, the political influence of unions has been enlarged. For example, the unionized janitors of Chicago supply a valuable service to their favored candidates by seeing that campaign literature is placed at the doorstep of each occupant of apartments and hotels and by disposing of the material of the opposition as trash. On a much larger scale, the "independent" organization known as COPE (Committee on Political Education) has been able to organize some of the manpower of AFL-CIO unions throughout the country for political campaigning of all types and for exerting pressure on representatives.


Farm pressure-groups use the techniques common to all pressure groups, but they especially benefit from the organized efforts of co-operatives and dual office-holding. Agricultural producers' co-operatives parallel the efforts of the large farm pressure-groups in organizing support among their membership for favored candidates and measures. Consumers' co-operatives are able to draw in many nonfarm citizens in a program of legislation and activity common to farmers and farm sympathizers alike. The national Department of Agriculture and many state agricultural agencies abound with officials who have been or are also active members and officers of the Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural pressure and welfare organizations. Hundreds of county agents, for example, are in constant touch with the farmers of their counties. The agents are paid from federal, state, and county funds. A considerable proportion of them are also active in one or more of the farmers' organizations that are, of course, private in character. The combination of affiliations tends to make the government agencies more responsive to farm grouppressures.

Since the American government has generally intervened to force farm prices up rather than down, American farm politics have not experienced the turmoil of farmer-government strife that Europe and Asia have known. Direct action by American farmers occurred sporadically during several of the American economic depressions; it usually took the form of resistance to foreclosures on farms and of damage to railroad property and grain storage facilities. Abroad, farm strikes are more common. In the Soviet Union, for instance, when the government in January, 1930, announced the aim of complete collectivization of farms within three years and the "liquidation" of the kulaks (the rich peasants), the peasants killed their animals. The situation was so serious in its consequencesit reduced milk and meat products and fertilizer as well as leather goods and other secondary products-that Stalin's famous speech "Dizzy with Success" called a halt to the government's policy on March 30, 1930. Faced with a scarcity of flour and meats, governments have often fixed maximum prices, and farmers have refused to send their products to market. Thus, in Italy in 1943, while bread sold in the black markets of Palermo for 70 lire a kilo, in Enna, some miles in the interior, it could be had for 5 lire a kilo; strenuous efforts were necessary to get enough flour into the capital city to meet a barely adequate bread ration for the population.


Several conclusions should be emphasized as we close this section on the lobby. The United States has had a century of experience with lobbies; during this period it has become apparent that the lobbies cannot be destroyed, that they are very difficult to regulate, and that very likely the peculiar conditions of American politics make the vast number and intense activity of lobbies an invariable factor in American government, at least in the predictable future. The techniques of lobbies have changed over the last century. The role of organization has increased relative to the role of cash spending in the technique of lobbying. As Pendleton Herring wrote some twenty years ago: "The minority groups arose to obtain from the government legislative action that they could not get through the political parties." He termed the lobby "part of the American system of representation."


Whether we speak of European politics or of American politics, we should point out that the lobbies are not as tightly organized as many people believe. Firstly, hardly ever does one lobby, stemming from one pressure group, gather together all the people who are eligible to be its constituents; all major groups of the population are represented by several pressure groups and lobbies that often fight among themselves. Secondly, pressure groups are often so constructed internally, being the rather disconnected offshoots of more integrated occupational groups, that they do not command the obedience, activity, or even passive agreement of any considerable number of their members. Finally, the influence of pressure groups and lobbies tends to be underestimated in some quarters and overestimated in others.

On the one hand, for example, a study by Lawrence H. Chamberlain of the major federal legislation of the last sixty years indicates that congressional lobbyists could conceivably claim sole credit for no more than 10 per cent of the laws. His study, however, neglects minor legislation (in which pressure groups are especially interested). Furthermore, state legislatures are more vulnerable to lobbying than is Congress. Also his figures do not cover dead bills; and the highest achievement of a lobby, often, is to kill an unfavorable bill or even to delay its passage. Admittedly, it is hard to measure the influence of pressure groups; this would be true even if one could observe every one of their actions. Still, given the fact that lobbies exist on both sides of almost every issue, it is a rare event indeed that a bill, backed by a single lobby and introduced surreptitiously by some friend of the lobbyists, ends as an enactment of Congress, except in drastically amended form.

On the other hand, many politicians and agency chiefs are perhaps more impressed by the strength of lobbies than they need be. They often take seriously lobbies that could not muster popular opposition to the representatives. It is just as hard for the representative to analyze correctly the strength of lobbies as it is for the political scientist, and the ordinary legislature does not provide him with the scientific help that is necessary to measure lobbying strength.

Finally, preparatory to taking up the matter at length in the next section, it may be stated here that the pressure groups in modern society have, in a number of crucial cases, moved into close working co-operation with the government. They have taken on public responsibilities and have been entrusted with official duties.



There are some indications that pressure politics, as we know them today, may be undergoing changes of a basic kind. The interest group in a number of different areas of American government is being vested with functions of a quasiofficial nature. To understand the fragments of evidence that lead us to this conclusion, we must venture abroad to countries where interest groups have had different roles to play.


In the Middle Ages, society in the countries from which America has drawn much of its culture-England, France, Holland Italy, Spain, and Germany-was divided into several classes based on modes of living. The nobility, the clergy, the yeomen, the merchants, and the artisans-although they all formed part of society-were assumed each to play a separate special role in society and to have certain duties and privileges in connection with their status and occupation. Each grouping had some elements of self-government; there was no single body of law covering all individuals for all purposes.


Merchants and artisans were organized into gilds that were formed in each type of occupation. The gilds often had power to determine for all members the conditions of work, the wages, the obligations of membership, the quality of production, and the price of articles sold. Elections were held to determine the leadership of the gilds, although in many gilds, only the richest and oldest members held real power. In some cases, the gilds held political power over and beyond their economic power. For example, the English gilds sometimes controlled the choice of their local representatives to the early House of Commons.


The economic and technological revolution in commerce, agriculture, and industry destroyed the basis for the gild organization in the cities, but the gilds often were able to hold out for generations, adhering to their ancient regulations and to restrictive practices that had once held real meaning. Adam Smith's great book The Wealth of Nations (1776) is to be understood as a reformer's attempt to break the antiquated barriers that the gilds, with the help of the government, maintained against the more productive techniques of the Industrial and Commercial revolutions. The radical movement in late eighteenth-century England, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution were struggles that had as one of their purposes the relief of the new middle classes-technically equipped to produce and exchange more goods than the old middle classes-from the restriction of the old society.

In the French Revolution this fact was more clearly realized than elsewhere, and a specific law was promulgated in 1790 declaring that all combinations of merchants or workers of any kind were prohibited. An English act of 1799 was similar. The age of individualism in economic affairs therefore dates from the beginning of the nineteenth century. The economy was to be separate from politics, and all economic arrangements were to be based on individual contracts, drawn without reference to any political or gild interference.


From this period of theoretically pure individualism (no form of behavior is ever absolute and pure in politics, law or no law) several important modern social movements grew, nourished by the problems of laissez-faire individualism. Despite legal hostility and popular distrust, a number of monopolies were able to emerge. In the same unfriendly atmosphere combinations of laboring men formed to attack some of the more brutal consequences of the new factory system in the industrialized portions of western Europe, England, and America. In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto, which exhorted the laboring classes of the world to revolt against those who were alleged to control the means of production and the state. In order to do this, of course, individualism had to be destroyed and the workers had to unite in one great class movement.


In several countries, the new socialists interpreted Marxism to require the organization of a political party that might in time destroy the other political parties and conquer the state. In other countries, however, especially in Italy, France, and Spain, the new socialists were syndicalists. They believed that the workers might take over the industry in which they worked and run it themselves, guided in a mild sort of way by some central planning committee of workers. This idea was not entirely dissimilar from the medieval gild idea, with the important exception that the tools and buildings were now to be owned by the workers' union rather than by individual masters.

In England, syndicalism was called gild socialism. Both theories proposed worker control and ownership of their factories; both had strong decentralizing tendencies. It is significant that even many Marxist communist parties have urged that economic and political control be decentralized by industry and by factory. However, soon after achieving power, they abandoned this ideal, for they found it threatened their ability to control the economy and state from the center.


In one way, then, socialism has been favorable to the autonomy of local production. But we have also mentioned that certain combinations of working men were formed that were not socialist. Such was the traditional trade union movement, much as we know it in America today. Here it is represented to the highest degree by some of the craft unions of the American Federation of Labor. The policies of such unions have resembled the policies of the medieval gilds. Steam fitters, for example, are skilled workers; this means that employers are not able at a moment's notice to find substitutes for striking steam fitters. By controlling the admission of new union-members, by obtaining contracts with employers that provide for the employment of union members only, such a union can gain considerable power over the area of life where steam fitting is essential. The union can then raise the qualifications of members, provide insurance and other fraternal benefits to its members, and give its members a kind of occupational "home," an esprit de corps that means much to human beings, especially in the modern world where most of men's attachments are transient and impersonal.

That is one side of the union's behavior. But there is the fact that in localities where steam fitters are abundant, young men who would rather pursue that trade than anything else had better look for something else. Furthermore, if someone devises new techniques that would cause the unemployment of steam fitters but would also save the consumer's money, he would undoubtedly encounter severe opposition. Much of the power amassed by such a union will be turned against the innovations of the Industrial Revolution (which, it is sometimes necessary to state, is still going on). Furthermore, the steam fitters are likely to possess a high evaluation of their own skill and importance and thus are likely to demand and receive as much for their services as they can get.

Since World War I, numerous trades in America-barbers, plumbers, bricklayers, carpenters, machinists, and many others -have in many parts of the country achieved a position something like that of the steam fitters. The politicians of today are in much the same position as the medieval kings with respect to such trades; the unions are not assaulted because they are compact and can convert readily to political warfare; usually, politicians co-operate with them and accept their accomplishments as beyond change, emphasizing publicly the positive features of such unionism.


Certain professions, in particular medicine and the law, have moved faster than the crafts unions in acquiring the power to regulate and discipline their own members. Medical associations and bar associations in most American states set the training for students, the moral qualifications required of them, the ethics of their practice, and the conditions under which they may be suspended from practice. The governments have tended to give some power to the professions over their own affairs. By implication, power over their "own affairs" has tended sometimes to be power to determine what constitutes the "public interest" concerning medicine and law.


A third reaction to the age of individualism, mentioned above, has been monopoly capitalism. Or, to put it more accurately, there have been several important deviations in practice from the pure theory of competition. Only one of these deviations is monopoly as the popular mind visualizes itthat is, a situation in which the total production of an essential commodity is controlled as to its amount and as to its price by a single owner or corporation. Another deviation that has come to be more typical of modern Western economies is oligopoly, a situation in which several huge firms control the bulk of the productive resources of an industry and set a pattern of leadership in working conditions, output, styles, and pricing that is followed by the small independent producers. A third deviation has been the trade association, an organization of the owners and managers of business enterprise in a particular field dedicated to the attainment of labor, market, production, and price policies on which the leading firms or a majority of members can agree. A final deviation from the theory of individualism of the early nineteenth century has been the separation of ownership of corporate wealth from management. As the stock issues of large corporations have been distributed among hundreds of people, as the financial affairs of large corporations have become more complex, as the privileges of the owners of stock have been reduced to hardly more than the right to receive dividends, the managers or top executives of the large corporations in many cases have become the real rulers of corporate property.

These industrial deviations have been of great importance to economic theory and practice. Their significance to politics is more relevant here and is worth describing. The managers have come to have a more personal stake in the careers of their enterprises than have the owners. To many owners, income alone is at issue in all the doings of their corporations; to the managers, not only income (for the top managers usually draw large salaries and also own stock) is at stake but also power and prestige. To them, the battle for control of all major decisions affecting their enterprises involves their opinion as to what is right for production and efficiency, and their internal and external prestige as the directors of the destiny of enterprises legally entrusted to them, and also their influence in determining external political policies affecting their concerns. As the government has turned more and more to the regulation of economic activities that had once been "industry-governed" or anarchic, the top managerial posts have required new skills-political skills that go beyond the technical abilities required in the management of large-scale enterprise. Public relations, institutional advertising, labor negotiations, community activities, and political pressure have come to consume a larger proportion of the time of top management. Scarcely a large corporation exists today that does not need constant and expert counseling on relations with governmental agencies, administrative and political.

In Germany, Italy, France, Japan, and England the growth of partial monopolies over many basic industries and the development of influential trade associations have gone hand in hand. Cartels have often been formed by oligopolies to ration out products under agreed-upon prices to maximize profits. There are many evidences that, in addition to economic agreements participated in by the leaders of the cartels and the trade associations, political pressure has been exercised on behalf of the policies of big business.


The Italian Fascist government was the first modern government to attempt a synthesis of these modern industrial tendencies with elements of the practices and theories of socialism and trade unionism. "Corporatism" was the name given the new structure of government. The major productive areas of the Italian economy, such as the maritime industry, agriculture, textile industries, and others, were organized into "corporations" with power, at least on paper, to determine the working conditions, pay rates, production quotas, and other matters concerning the area. The various corporations were members of a Chamber of Corporations that planned and directed the major part of the economy. The system was practiced too little to draw conclusions about its results. But one notes with interest that it originated from very different sources: (1) the gild and craft-union idea that supports pluralism and all the advantages to be gained when workers in an industry have a good deal to say about how it is run (this idea, incidentally, received important backing by the Catholic Church); (2) the syndicalist and gild socialist variety of socialism that received mass backing in several European countries; (3) the obvious tendency of big businesses in modern life to act in concert in political and economic affairs.


Other countries also experimented with functional representation. Democratic Germany experimented with an Economic Council, composed of the representatives of management and labor. The council advised the government on economic and fiscal policy and on the regulation of industry. Functional representation was also debated in France, England, and Japan, and in several smaller countries. But none of these experiments or projects was seriously tried, because deep class antagonisms existed in politics and because the traditional governmental structure and government leaders resisted the development of new and competing political institutions. Leaders of industry and commerce feared to trust their interests to politicians; a good part of the public was deeply suspicious of big business; and the politicians, themselves, had too great an investment in the status quo of politics to risk their personal fortunes in novel schemes.

Nevertheless, European governments are still fumbling for a political formula that will allow for a closer integration of economics and politics without offending irredeemably the spokesmen of labor or management. The Schuman Plan of 1950, proposing the integration of western European heavy industrial production under a combined public-private international agency that would have considerable economic and political power, demonstrated that integrated pluralism along functional lines was far from dead as a goal of political theory. In the subsequent decade the Plan materialized into the effective European Coal and Steel Community.


In the United States, formal interest-representation developed in scattered areas of national life, often unnoticed. It has not developed from conscious theory, but from grasping at particular solutions for particular problems. We mentioned that a number of craft unions and professions have powers over their members and over the contribution of their occupation to the great society. This is more than pressure-group politics. Such groups are little governments; by virtue of occupational competence, the group leaders are given special responsibilities with reference to public affairs. Thus, the state medical associations determine what are the legitimate tasks of doctors and the Missouri Bar Association nominates state supreme court justices. Associations of security dealers are required by the federal government to place certain requirements on their members and also to punish offending members. The farmers who raise certain regulated crops conduct elections to determine whether they wish to control the production of such crops. If two thirds of them so vote, a plan for the specified crop controls is put into effect in each county under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture, and all farmers are required to conform to the policy.

The famous National Industrial Recovery Administration (N.I.R.A.) (1933-35) allowed each industry to prepare a code of regulations governing the working conditions, ethics, and production policies of all the firms within the industry. The codes, upon being approved by the President, were executed by the officers of the N.I.R.A. The N.I.R.A. marked the highwater mark of functional representation and integrated pluralism in America. Leading opinion at the end of the experiment believed that the nation was moving into the "corporate state" too rapidly. But since then, many administrative agencies of the national government and of some state governments have been authorized by law to form boards composed of representatives of the industries regulated by the agencies, to consult with such boards on administrative policy, and to use such boards to assist in the execution of government policy. During World War II there were created over 750 Industry Advisory committees in the war establishments alone. Each committee gave representation to small, medium, and large companies, to the geographical sections of the industry, to the product specialty components of the industry, and to the members and non-members of the industry's trade associations.


These arrangements differed significantly from pressure politics of the older, traditional, lobby type. They introduced definite, structural relationships between special interests and the government. Although the N.I.R.A. was abandoned in the thirties and practically all of the Industry Advisory committees were dissolved at the end of the war, a large number of interests remain represented in the various subdivisions of normal, peacetime agencies. Pressure groups have moved far from their origins in the buttonholing of legislators in the lobbies of the legislative chambers. The state of the future, it can be predicted, will have more, not less, techniques for gaining technical assistance, administrative help, and legislative inspiration from the multitude of special economic, social, and religious groups that exist in modern society.

The involved and complicated processes of political influence in the modern state cannot be much simplified or easily controlled. Men have built, mostly without conscious thought, an incredibly complex institutional structure. A highly productive society and an intricate pattern of influence are closely related. If one collapses, the other also falls. It is impossible to destroy the pattern of influence without causing a great decrease in productivity. To destroy productivity in order to rid society of the influence that producers wield would seem idiotic to almost everyone. We conclude, then, that the adjustment of influence is a problem that requires serious scientific attention, and that the alternatives to such an adjustment are primitivism or open conflict. As Charner Perry has written:

In the later stages of social development more and more understanding of the functioning of institutions is needed. As individuals, groups, and the factors of existence become more and more interdependent and delicately organized, there is increasing danger that the malfunctioning of some part, or the operation of some factor not considered, or a lack of proper adjustment among institutions will produce a serious or even disastrous breakdown [3]

Such breakdowns, however calamitous, have not been infrequent in human communities. Now that we possess some understanding of the political dynamics that establish peaceful equilibrium, we will examine the origins of such breakdowns and two of their consequences: civil conflict and war.

[3] Quoted with the permission of the American Political Science Review from Charner Perry: "The Semantics of Political Science," American Political Science Review, Vol. XLIV (1950), p. 394.

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