• Community, Advocacy

The power of the group

In the current issue of The New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann writes about how "interest groups," which have been vilified as the pernicious corrupters of American politics, are really the bedrock of democracy. This article really resonates with us, since we're always talking about how people do better in a group, achieving power in markets and power in politics. To summarize (and perhaps oversimplify) Lemann's argument: Contemporary conversations about American politics emphasize appealing to individuals, and frame accountability to interest groups as pandering. We have forgotten the principle put forth 100 years ago by Arthur Bentley in "The Process of Government," that "All politics and all government are the result of the activities of groups." As Lemann puts it,

People matter politically only as members of groups, and groups matter only when they act.

You can read the whole article online. If you're inspired to become a member of a group, join Freelancers Union. If you're already a member and you're inspired to help the group act, make sure you're signed up for the Get Involved email list.

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