Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach

By Gabriel A. Almond; G. Bingham Powell Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Interest Aggregation and Political Parties

THE FUNCTION OF CONVERTING DEMANDS into general policy alternatives is called interest aggregation. A political party convention, as it receives the complaints and demands of labor unions and business organizations, and juggles, bargains, and compromises these conflicting interests into some form of policy statement, is engaging in interest aggregation. So is the legislature as a legislative committee listens to representatives of the military argue that an increase in manpower is vital for national defense, and then hears a treasury official argue that a tax increase or deficit financing will be necessary if such measures are to be put into effect.

In a nation such as the Soviet Union the process may take place in rather different fashion. A central group of party leaders may hear the demands of military officers, party subordinates, and administrative officials for and against shifting industrial production to manufacture more consumer goods. Information bearing on the problem may come from the levels of blackmarket activity and from the impending crisis levels on the foreign scene. In the course of these considerations Various policy alternatives are formulated. They may emerge through a combination of ideological analysis and pragmatic

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