12.02.2006

Iron Law of Oligarchy

It may be that political dynasties are inevitable. Essentially they are types of oligarchies. From Wikipedia:

The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It states that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic or autocratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop into oligarchies.

Robert Michels was disturbed to find that, paradoxically, the socialist parties of Europe, despite their democratic ideology and provisions for mass participation, seemed to be dominated by their leaders, just as the traditional conservative parties.
Studying political parties, he concluded that the problem lay in the very nature of organizations. Modern democracy allowed the formation of organizations such as political parties, but as such organizations grew in complexity, they paradoxically became less and less democratic. Michels formulated the "Iron Law of Oligarchy": "Who says organization, says oligarchy."

Now, Michels ended up working for Mussolini, so one wonders if his Iron Law was something he demoaned or exploited. In any case, read more of his thoughts here.

1 comment:

Bones said...

Wow man. You need to come spend a few years working on Capitol Hill or something. You'll learn that related or not, they are all just about as good/bad as the next and last one.

The bottom like, though, is we're british decendents and we love royalty. If you strip the name "kennedy" from the clan, and list off the resumes, rap sheets, and bad luck events, nobody in their right mind would elect anyone from the family. Much less marry one.

We love it though. We cant get enough of it. I dont think its because of Michel's Iron Law of Oligarchy, I think its just that people, on the whole, dont think and its easier to just go with what you know. Or maybe not.