Government and Business: 797395


The Essay is an ALTERNATIVE to the business submission.  DO NOT do both.

Choose one of the following essay questions. Answers can use examples from any country to illustrate a concept or argument, provided the examples are relevant.

  1. ‘Business has far more influence on government than any other interest group’ Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.


  1. “Increasing backlash against globalisation in the aftermath of economic crisis and long-running stagnation has led to a remarkable rise in political volatility in countries around the world. Indeed populist reactions seem to have destroyed the capacity of major parties in developed nations to govern effectively.” Do you agree? Discuss using examples.


  1. One of the major roles for governments in supporting business has traditionally been to provide expensive infrastructure in the shape of roads, rail, ports, power and so on. During the neoliberal ‘market does it best’ era, privatisation of public goods became the favoured policy while infrastructure spending declined. But now in a time of slow growth and cheap borrowing many argue that infrastructure should again be near the top of governmental agendas. Do you agree? How successful are governments being with infrastructure policies?

In the structure of the essay, it is very important that you have a clear introduction that sets out what argument you are making and how you intend to make and support it. The body will consist of points in support of your position. The conclusion restates the arguments and offers some observations based on your research.

A minimum of 8 references is required, which should include academic sources. All material drawn from these references must be appropriately cited. Use SafeAssign (see Assessment: General Information above) if unsure.


Written assignments must conform to the standards specified below:

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There are numerous popular accounts showing how interest group are able to influence the policy making process. They are based on organizational expenditure and campaign donations with the assertion that it is these resources that influence outcomes preferable to “special” interest groups. However, attempts by assessments as well as researches carried out by scholars on this influence, are yet to yield a conclusive report – there are times resources may influence outcomes, and other times where the same variables fail to have any significant impact or none at all.


In addressing the question of whether ‘Business has far more influence on government than any other interest group’ I looked into two countries premier corporate lobby groups giving the reader a conclusive comparison.  There is the use of data that is based on financial might by group type in the U.S context which was my primary focus on U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The secondary focus being Australia where we get to look at Business council of Australia’s dealings as a complementary for this study.  After analyzing various scholarly articles, I found that when there is a consideration of resources on the basis of group type, business organizations tend to have a clear advantage, most notable when it comes to material resources. However, upon conducting an analysis on the basis of issues, I found that material resources (which are enjoyed by business organizations) tend give an equal probability on each of the two issues in both countries. Ordinary citizen groups usually work together with “special” (financially powerful) interest groups, which uses financial incentives to sway citizen groups and utilize their membership numbers and public opinion to legitimize things in what is referred to as soft power. They may also choose to stiffen their grip through direct approach laying down their claims while still offering financial incentives in what is called hard power. Business organizations which enjoy financial might were no more likely than financially dwarfed organizations to be on the winning or losing side of a policy debate.

A lot has been said and documented on the influence money has on politics. In this article paper I will take a careful look at the impact of monetary resources in influencing government policies. In obvious sense the richer the group, the more the government advantages. But the activities of the government in policymaking is a process that is continuous, comprising of many issues that have already been settled in previous stages. Could the rich simply continue to accumulate more money and policy advantage, taking home the prize every time? Does the political class always consider their issue, and continue to expand the distance between the rich and the poor? echoing questions that were raised by Schlozman and Tierney, (1996) In this paper I show that the proverbial “the rich get richer” narrative also has major complications in relation to the policy making process using the U.S context to showcase where backing it up with and Australian context.

Resource by group type

By looking at previous surveys of interest groups in both Australia and the U.S  I saw that occupational interests, most notably businesses related associations, are the richest in terms of material wealth sufficiently spearheaded by lobbying staff.

Table 1 comparison of interest groups average spending and hired lobbyist (Wilson,2003)

Group type Hired

Lobbyist (%)


spending on


Business corporations 77 $1,040,105
Unions 46 $490,987

It was also identified that the more the corporations employed external lobbying firms the more these corporate class have friends in senior government offices. Unions which represent the interests of workers were seen to be the least likely to enjoys such high government status friends. On average, businesses were seen to employ up to six times the number of covered

Officials compared to labor unions. By taking a look at lobbying expenditures one can clearly see the level of imbalance in terms of resources favoring business: lobbying expenditures averaging $1about million double that of labor unions. So far, we see that business corporations on top of having control over a substantial amount of material resources also has easier access and better grip on policy makers (Wilson,2003).

Beyond the Financial Incentive

Based on popular accounts, the interest-group as a system mostly focuses on monetary resources: their strong point and influence tactic on the government being campaign contributions whereby they get one of their own elected in political seats. Dr. Li Ji’s 2013 where she explains the terms soft and hard power which is seen in play. As opposed to the U.S which spends to a tune of about $500 million in every election year via campaign contributions, Australia can be said to be more inclined on soft ball technique with its lobby group is more focused on promoting the interests of its members with an annual revenue estimated to average $11.4 million (Beder, S. and Cahill,2005). However, this inherent and most common relationship that we see between money and politics is not as simple as it seems. This is mainly because where huge sums of money are put forward on one side, the other end often rise up in numbers mobilizing themselves as well (though clearly not always the case) (Beder, S. and Cahill,2005).

They showed that businesses make up more of the registrants in Australia’s Advocacy community compared. But at the end of the day based on how pressing the issues are trade unions in Australia usually effectively mobilizes and utilizes their strength which is in numbers through channels such as strikes or go slow effectively cutting off the corporations’ money hence power (Beder, S. and Cahill,2005).

There is no doubt that money is power and that the rich and wealthy have more opportunities to utilize their access to policymakers and politicians than other interest groups in society. However, very few officials in government have the unilateral authority of producing the policy changes the elite business class might try to push through by lobbying. This is where the ordinary citizen through their groups may decide to flex their muscle (McCormick, 1991).

Why Resources May Appear Not to Matter

Looking at the U.S which is the direction Australia seems to be taking very fast Smith++++ Alesina, (2009) carried out an in-depth study of the impact of policies by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerhouse business organization in American politics. His startling conclusion was that the Chamber often did not that which it wanted. The reason for this as demonstrated by Smith was based on the selection of issues it extensively lobbied on. Being comprised of diverse members which include large and small businesses across different industries, the issues it could unilaterally pass were all encompassing such as matters pertaining to cost of health-care and labor issues (McCormick,1981). All in all, based on the observed trends it can be said that an issue that could unite and mobilize a business community in its entirety is also likely to have the same mobilizing effect on rival groups most notably consumers. Basically, these are the big and high-profile matters. Of course, having more wealth and resources is a bonus but even a powerhouse such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which spends millions in lobbying cannot be guaranteed of a win the moment the said issue brings together a pool of powerful organizations each bringing in its own resources as is often demonstrated in Australia.


As demonstrated above, the bottom line is money is power and matters a lot in the business sector and politics. The relationship has been identified in different aspects but one can conclusively say, different agendas within any government are mostly fueled by business ideas. Most of the government ideas and policy implementation forums are based on generating revenue which is channeled to different business projects within a country. The businesses end up developing and dictating the market. This form of control lays down a road map of hat the government is expected to achieve.  Therefore, one can agree that business has far more influence on government than any other interest group. However, also in answering the question, it is important to consider that it strongly depends on the nature of the underscored issue as well as the competitiveness of the lobbying processes. References

Alesina, A., 1989. Politics and business cycles in industrial democracies. Economic policy, 4(8), pp.55-98.

Barry, N.P., 1983. The new liberalism. British Journal of Political Science, 13(1), pp.93-123.

Beder, S. and Cahill, D., 2005. Regulating the power shift: the state, capital and electricity privatization in Australia. Journal of Australian Political Economy, The, (55), p.5.

McCormick, R.L., 1981. The discovery that business corrupts politics: A reappraisal of the origins of progressivism. The American Historical Review, pp.247-274.

Pfeffer, J., 1994. Managing with power: Politics and influence in organizations. Harvard Business Press

Schlozman, K.L. and Tierney, J.T., 1986. Organized interests and American democracy. Harpercollins College Div.

Yackee, J.W. and Yackee, S.W., 2006. A bias towards business? Assessing interest group influence on the US bureaucracy. The Journal of Politics, 68(1), pp.128-139.

Wilson, G.K., 2003. Business and politics: A comparative introduction. CQ Press.