The theory of pluralistic democracy G. Laski - History...

The Theory of Pluralistic Democracy by G. Lasky

The complication of the social structure of a mature capitalist society, the formation of multi-party systems in industrialized countries contributed to the emergence of ideas of political pluralism.

The general premise in the concepts of pluralistic democracy is the provision that the state is democratic only if there are many organizations or autonomous groups participating in the exercise of power.

The diverse social associations are called upon to express and protect the interests of the first and foremost unprivileged sections of society, which, under the conditions of parliamentary democracy, are deprived of the opportunity to really influence the policies of the supreme bodies of the state and seek protection of their interests through alternative (non-state) organizations - trade unions, guilds, cooperatives, etc. With the detailed justification of the ideal of pluralistic democracy, Harold Lasky (1893-1950) - prominent figure and theorist of the British Labor Party. Among his works are: "Power in the modern state" (1919); "Fundamentals of Sovereignty" (1921); Policy Grammar (1925); American Democracy (1948).

It was G. Lasky who formulated such concepts as the "pluralistic theory of the state" and "political pluralism", which were accepted by subsequent supporters of the concept and are now used as its names.

According to the teachings of Laski, the modern type of state originated in the era of the Reformation, when secular rulers, having defeated the church, concentrated in their hands the fullness of power. In the future, but the extent of the approval of capitalism, state power underwent bureaucratization and turned into a centralized hierarchical management system serving the interests of private owners. Laski called such a state "monistic." Presence of representative institutions of parliament and local self-government bodies does not fundamentally change matters, since they are included in a single system of institutions protecting property owners. In the countries of parliamentary democracy, workers' electoral rights have a declarative, formal character. Laski wrote that "citizens are powerless in the face of effectively functioning centralized power." He sharply criticized the idea of ​​the "all-pervasive" state.

The affirmation of freedom Laski associated with the establishment of a new social system - industrial democracy. Describing the future society, Laski proceeded from the fact that private property in it will be preserved, but the functions of production management will be transferred to the working people's collectives. A pluralistic state will replace the centralized organization of power. In this state, a system of institutions built on a territorial basis will be supplemented by bodies of representation of professional interests-production associations (for example, the railway corporation), trade unions, associations of cultural workers and educators, independent churches. This will result in the dispersion (dispersion) of state sovereignty: political power will be dispersed through numerous associations representing various social interests. The increase in the number of centers of power will reflect the federal nature of society, its differentiated social structure.

The concept of pluralistic democracy proceeds from the fact that it is not a person, not a people, but the group is the main driving force of politics in a modern democratic state. It is in the group, as well as in the intergroup relations, that the personality is formed, its interests, value orientations and motives of political activity are determined. Each person is representative of many groups: family, professional, ethnic, religious, etc. With the help of the group, the person gets the opportunity to express and protect his interests. The purpose of democracy is to stimulate diversity, pluralism in society, to give all citizens the opportunity to unite, to express their interests openly, to find by means of mutual compromises their balance expressed in political decisions. The infringement in the political decisions of the interests of certain groups usually increases the involvement in the politics of their members and thereby enhances their influence on subsequent policies. As a result of a complex competitive interaction based on political blocs and compromises in state decisions, a dynamic balance, a balance of group interests, is established.

Laski believed that the modern state must recognize and provide its citizens the right to a living wage and sufficient leisure, the right to unite for joint social action. In contrast to the liberal interpretation of the state as a "night watchman," Laski interpreted the state as the body responsible for the normal functioning of all sectors of the social system, supporting social justice in the society and ensuring decent living conditions for each person. The state is also an arbitrator, ensuring compliance with laws, rules of the game in the competition of diverse groups and not allowing monopolization of power.

F. Laski called for the transformation of society not in a revolutionary way, but through the moral self-improvement of man and the reconciliation of classes in the course of gradual social reforms.

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