Womens rights activists holding protest signs and marching. Womens rights activists holding protest signs and marching.

What do Experts Point out as a Flaw in Pluralism Theory?


Let us first understand what pluralism is and if we even go down to the word’s anatomy it really means plural, that is more than one.

In the political system, pluralism theory implies that democratic powers should not be contained by one person or one group.

Instead, there should be a dispersion of power among various groups who are holding strongly to different features of democracy.

So, there can be pressure groups for economic considerations, some for ideologies, and others for different political actions.

1. Pluralism Theory

A philosophical and political understanding that brings together people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and lifestyles so that they can live together peacefully in a society and equally participate in the political proceedings.

Their idea is that this coexistence will help in making better decisions and eventually a common good for the whole society.

Minority groups are also given importance and even protection by the legislation. It overall supports both the cultural and religious sentiments of all people.

This can be explained by an example of the United States where the labor laws help workers and employees and their needs are addressed in a uniform manner.

When the environmentalists need any assistance they approach ahead and form laws or rules for air pollution and other similar issues. Similarly, all segments of the society are taken into the bigger picture.

The Pluralist Commonwealth

It is believed that this decentralization of power is very helpful for the smooth working of democracy and it is beneficial to society overall so that different sectors can be looked upon nicely, without compromising on any part as such.

The autonomy of functioning helps different groups, trade unions, and even minorities.

So, when we see the characteristics of pluralism, it is basically a democracy that is run by small groups, these groups are organized in a very systematic manner and some are even funded.

The influential power of these differs since not all of them can have the same amount of influence. This in turn also changes the scope of their power.

The most attractive feature is that they cater to narrow dimensions and each group focuses on one characteristic, rather than bringing universal nature with itself, like defense, agriculture, or banking.

2. Who are these Small Groups?

The groups are autonomous implying they are politically independent. They have their own rights and operate in the manner that they like in a marketplace.

Now since these groups are basically part of the big umbrella of democracy, the intergroup competition will actually help with no group being too influential over the other.

This creates a good working environment that is balanced in a state of equilibrium, although members can be repetitive, it does not adversely affect the working because these members actually reduce the number of conflicts.

The system is very open, it supports openness in all aspects. The groups are never shut down from the outside and they keep on adding new members from different spheres of life.

Since the availability of resources is limited there is a perpetual urge to form new groups, and this need is fulfilled periodically.

Society is judged by equality rather than political opportunity. The citizens actually have a comparatively equal chance to participate in government work.

The people can also exert influence during leader choosing process. So now, even though these people do not directly govern they have an outlet to put their views forward.

3. Let’s Look at the Flaws in Pluralism Theory

It is believed by many that the theory as a whole is basically a large contradiction.

Now it states that you do include more people in decision making but also the fact that the ordinary citizens governing it are less than the functioning is better.

The system does not rely on autocratic rule nor does it rely on totalitarian rule, so the leaders do not possess the ultimate power or decision authority.

The decision-making is done by different groups which are formed by members from all parts of the society.

If we look at the bigger picture then we will actually observe that the number of these so-called small groups is huge and they have various categories like state level, local, or even national but not even one of them can totally supersede another.

So, the large number of citizens that they are representing is not really under their control. They have an indirect voice, and public opinion is also paid attention to in an indirect manner.

Even when we consider limited resources then we have to consider the possibility of one group exploiting more than the other thus creating slack in the system.

4. Is Implementing Pluralism Difficult?

Implementation of pluralism is such a difficulty that it actually becomes a flaw. This process requires a lot of coordination between different groups because of the decentralization of power.

When the coordination is not done in an optimal manner then the entire working efficiency is reduced and the effectiveness of pluralism decreases.

Since the number of groups is large the time required for making any decision or a policy is also very large, because there are a lot of factors that have to be considered and complexity therefore increases.

The overall problem that occurs is sometimes the political system does not function correctly, the groups can dominate or influence the working.

They develop strategies and tricks to outvote their counterparts by creating extreme political pressure.

5. Final Thoughts

What really needs to be done is that the individual citizens have to be vested with power, they have to be given the choice of making decisions.

Once they become accountable they will become more responsible and they will choose accordingly.

People should be involved as the first person in the process and policymaking should incorporate them so that there is more focus on the development of the whole country as a whole rather than personal development.

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by soubhik


Anushree Khandelwal
  1. Pluralism is such a sensitive issue, and this article covers its multifaceted aspects very coherently. As the author mentions, implementing pluralism in real time is so difficult which becomes its major flaw. In terms of limited policy formulation and implementation, multiple interest groups may be consulted. The article expands on such flaws of pluralism in matters of wider and lasting implications such as international policies.

  2. I’ve always been a supporter of pluralism, but this article brings up some thought-provoking flaws. It’s crucial to question and refine our theories for a more comprehensive understanding.

  3. This concept carries such great insights. Its various meanings like in politics, was truly eye-opening. It’s principle of promoting coexistence and ultimately achieving the common good is something I found truly intriguing. Bringing individuals from diverse backgrounds to peacefully coexist is also incredibly fascinating, and sheds light on a dimension I was previously unaware of.

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