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February 22, 2013

Representation of Interest

Public policy can be defined as all the goals set by a government and the various action courses pursued by the government as it seeks to realize the goals set. Interest groups take positions on issues that affect the public as a whole then raise awareness of public affairs through the development and promotion of the policies they favor and denounce the policies they disagree with.

Several interest groups in the society are particularly those bent on advancing the economic or social interests of their members. It is for this reason that public policy making decisions affect the interest groups in different ways. It should be noted that some interest groups have large membership foundations while others do not.One of the interest groups that are affected by public policy making decisions is the trade associations. The trade associations represent but more often than not assume a stand on numerous policy matters. Since the members of trade associations have a direct economic motivation to support the actions of the groups, economic interest groups have tendency to be well financially endowed and very professional. The economic interest groups have a tendency to combine the interest of professional crusaders with other efforts to assist their members. They may also communicate to the public policy makers by way of letters or phone calls, or arrange for meetings with the decision makers. In the case of organizations with large memberships like unions, they engage in protests and demonstrations aimed at the policy makers.

Social interests are one of the interests affected by the public policy decision making. This is because the public policies have a direct impact on how people live their lives on a daily routine and as such, there are also social interest groups that often take a moral standpoint or a libertarian standpoint on an issue. One of the social interests affected by public policy decisions is whether or not a person should feel free to engage in a homosexual relationship. This is by all standards a social matter but the public policy regarding the same overrides the options and choices of an individual.it is for this reason that social interest groups often crusade for either pro-life or pro-choice standpoints depending on the issue at hand. The public policies also dictate at what age an individual can start consuming alcohol. The fact that a person might be willing and able to purchase an alcoholic drink but be limited by the public policy clearly indicates that the social interests of a person are affected by the public policy decisions.

A citizen action group is another interest group that is affected by public policy decision making. They are also referred to as public interest groups. Some of the public interest groups are concerned with a variety of issues that affect the public in general like social or environmental matters. One example of such is the Common Cause. These groups that are focused on one issue are called single issue interest groups. Majority of the citizen action groups are also relatively well funded and also utilize the same tactics to get to the public policy decision makers like litigation and electioneering. These are processes that are also used by other economic interest groups. Since they have many members, putting together their members to vouch for the cause of the group is an important tactic as well.

There is another fast growing segment of the interest group fraternity called non-membership interest groups. These groups include companies that maintain offices in major cities. Universities and local governments also constitute non interest groups. These interest groups often recruit and deploy their own lobbyists or seek the services of outside consultants to influence legislation or challenge the same.

Citizens also have a way of teaming up in ad-hoc organizations that are aimed at influencing public policy decisions that they feel affects them and they need to have a say in. Such kind of ad-hoc organizations are often aimed at a single cause like reforms in schools or neighborhood maintenance and beautification. Since they have a narrower focus, they have a tendency to outlive the initial issues that spur their formation. Owing to the lack of permanency and economic motivation, the unity and the size of the membership is the key strength of such associations.

The political interests are also affected by public policy decisions. It is fairly trivial that the General Elections in the United States are held after every four years. This is as far as the constitution goes. It would be interesting to know that there are people or organizations who wished the elections were held either at longer intervals or shorter intervals. A typical example of how public policy affects the political interest is that a president once elected becomes the president for everybody. There are people who would wish to be governed by their preferred candidate who lost in the general elections in a parallel government but the constitution does not allow for that.

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