MNA Editorial Desk: Interest groups, also called special interest group or pressure group, any association of individuals or organizations, usually formally organized, that, on the basis of one or more shared concerns, attempts to influence public policy in its favour. All interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their causes.
Public policy in Bangladesh is shaped by a wide variety of forces, from polls and election results to interest groups and institutions, both formal and informal. In addition to political parties, the influence of diverse and sometimes antagonistic political forces has been widely acknowledged by policymakers and evidenced by scholars, and journalists. In recent years concerns have been growing that deep-pocketed donors now play an unprecedented role in Bangladesh politics.
The birth of interest groups brought about a lot of positive influences in society, such as giving members of the public a voice in matters of governance. However, they have also been a source of controversy due to questionable methods that some lobby groups used in order to influence policy makers.
Interest groups need a great deal of money in order to lobby successfully. They need funds (which usually come from contributions and donations) to pay for meals, trips, and other expenses. However, there have been controversies surrounding lobbying methods used by some groups to influence policy makers. These include bribery, corruption and fraud.
Interest groups can have a great positive impact on government policies and society, but they should not be exempt from law when it comes to the methods used in order to create the change they desire.
Interest groups lead to pluralism, which critics contend that there is no common good, as there are many conflicting interests in society. What is good for one individual can be bad for other people. Critics also argue that interest groups would interfere with democracy, as they seek out benefits for minorities rather than the greater good of the majority. For example, the National Rifle Association has repeatedly blocked gun-control legislations, despite the fact that most citizens in the US actually want stricter laws on firearms.
Their system can really be effective only for economic interest groups, which normally have greater financial resources at their disposal. It is also believed that these groups would ignore the interests of the poor in favor of the middle and upper-class, who have more money and time to contribute.
Some scholars argue that these groups have been very successful and use the term “hyperpluralism” in order to describe a political system that caters only to interest groups and not the people. Too many interest groups have led to demo-sclerosis, which is the inability of the government to accomplish anything substantial. Critics contend that the government cannot make serious changes, even if they are needed, as competing interest groups hinder it from effectively governing the country.