THE “PRIVILEGED POSITION” OF BUSINESS
Hudson first states what he believes to be the central assumption of the Pluralist
description of American politics that there is no one dominant group in American Society. He
argues that there is a dominant group, business. I agree that the pluralist ideology is wrong and
that business is very dominant in our political society.
He continues by stating that there are two faces of the political privilege of business. The
first involves business actively manipulating the political system to obtain their political objectives.
Hudson starts by stating that the first aspect, that of the active manipulating of the political system
by business to obtain political objectives, can be divided into three aspects, business predominance
in lobbying policy makers, the role of business in financing elections, and messages favorable to
business in the media, schools, and universities.
I will first discuss his views on the predominance of business in lobbying policy makers.
He argues that the pluralist theory is wrong in determining the significance of representativeness
of these groups and should instead see the extent to which these groups represent one societal
interest that of business. I agree that there are many interest groups but a majority of them are in
some way lobbying for business. I also believe that the majority of the people know that this is
going on and don’t like it and would like to see a change.
Next Hudson discusses the businesses role in providing finding for elections. The business
that contribute money can expect to be heard by the elected officials they have helped. He states
that business dominates lobby groups as well as dominates the universe of campaign
contributions. I believe that this gives businesses a huge advantage and also I believe that this is
the major reason business predominates over politics in our society. And the more closely you
look at this issue the more clearly you see the money these businesses contribute to candidates
who are in effect already pro-business then they become even more for business when they know
this will in all probability get them re-elected. I definitely agree that this poses a real problem and
needs to be dealt with.
In addition, business controls citizen access to information through ownership of the
media. I agree with this completely. I was surprised to read that most of the mass communication
industry is now concentrated in about twenty giant holding companies. The idea that newspapers
and television are businesses themselves and project pro-business views is a given. But also other
businesses pay for them through advertising. I do agree that this is going on but I am not sure of
the effect that it has.
Hudson then describes the second face the more subtle of the faces of which most of us
fail to think about. This face is the power we give to business to make societies crucial economic
decisions. He states that leaving important societal decisions to “the market” means dividing
authority for important social decisions between two sets of rulers and that in any capitalist
market system government officials and businessmen rule. Where we can somewhat control our
government officials we can’t control businessmen. I again agree that this is a problem which
needs to be dealt with. But I really had never thought of this before. And I agree that this places
business above government in making economic decisions which the public should have a lot
more say so in.
Lastly, Hudson discusses why business privilege is a threat to democracy. He sets out four
ways in which it is a threat. First, is that the full range of political interests in society are not
equally represented. I definitely agree that this is a threat because ordinary people even people
associated with non-business related interest groups are overlooked because business has more
money and therefore more power to persuade politicians. Second, business power restricts the
agenda of policy alternatives seriously debated and discussed when public policy is formulated.
Third, business power undermines the development of an effective citizenry. And, fourth business
privilege results in substantive policies that are contrary to the needs and interest of a majority of
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