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Iron Law of Oligarchy (Read 2506 times)
Auggie
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Iron Law of Oligarchy
Jul 30th, 2018 at 7:25pm
 
The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties.[1] It claims that rule by an elite, or oligarchy, is inevitable as an "iron law" within any democratic organization as part of the "tactical and technical necessities" of organization.[1]

Michels' theory states that all complex organizations, regardless of how democratic they are when started, eventually develop into oligarchies. Michels observed that since no sufficiently large and complex organization can function purely as a direct democracy, power within an organization will always get delegated to individuals within that group, elected or otherwise.

Using anecdotes from political parties and trade unions struggling to operate democratically to build his argument in 1911, Michels addressed the application of this law to representative democracy, and stated: "Who says organization, says oligarchy."[1] He went on to state that "Historical evolution mocks all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy."[1]

According to Michels all organizations eventually come to be run by a "leadership class", who often function as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons or political strategists for the organization. Far from being "servants of the masses", Michels argues this "leadership class," rather than the organization's membership, will inevitably grow to dominate the organization's power structures. By controlling who has access to information, those in power can centralize their power successfully, often with little accountability, due to the apathy, indifference and non-participation most rank-and-file members have in relation to their organization's decision-making processes. Michels argues that democratic attempts to hold leadership positions accountable are prone to fail, since with power comes the ability to reward loyalty, the ability to control information about the organization, and the ability to control what procedures the organization follows when making decisions. All of these mechanisms can be used to strongly influence the outcome of any decisions made 'democratically' by members.[2]

Michels stated that the official goal of representative democracy of eliminating elite rule was impossible, that representative democracy is a fašade legitimizing the rule of a particular elite, and that elite rule, which he refers to as oligarchy, is inevitable
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freediver
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #1 - Jul 30th, 2018 at 9:40pm
 
= representative democracy
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aquascoot
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #2 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:15am
 
hierachies are inevitable.
and they are not always tyranical .
they are , or should be, a "hierachy of competance" with the most competant people at the top and the hierachy is there to ensure the safety and comfort and well being of all those within the hierachy.

the left see hierachies as a power struggle and they can be.

but civilised men, work together and elect the most competant from their ranks to lead them
thats a good system
change that at your peril
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Auggie
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #3 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:16pm
 
freediver wrote on Jul 30th, 2018 at 9:40pm:
= representative democracy


I understand this dribble now.

Yes, you are correct, representative democracy is oligarchy, but many people here don't seem to think so.

Either we must accept oligarchy as 'iron law' or propose more radical measures to become democratic.
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aquascoot
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #4 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:25pm
 
Auggie wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:16pm:
freediver wrote on Jul 30th, 2018 at 9:40pm:
= representative democracy


I understand this dribble now.

Yes, you are correct, representative democracy is oligarchy, but many people here don't seem to think so.

Either we must accept oligarchy as 'iron law' or propose more radical measures to become democratic.



Society functions pretty well now. Maybe it's 80% as good as it can get.
It's an incredibly complex system.
It's way way easier to make a complex system worse then it is to improve it.
WeVe seen the results of radical change in hitlers Germany, mao's china, communist Russia, pol pots Cambodia. . Radical change by people who are lacking in humility are virtually guaranteed to end in catastrophe.
How many million corpses do you need to pile up to accept this.
Mao and Stalin made hitler look like an amateur.
I wouldn't want anyone from the radical left trying to change the economic fabric of society.
I couldn't think of a worse idea then that
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Auggie
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #5 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:42pm
 
aquascoot wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:25pm:
Auggie wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:16pm:
freediver wrote on Jul 30th, 2018 at 9:40pm:
= representative democracy


I understand this dribble now.

Yes, you are correct, representative democracy is oligarchy, but many people here don't seem to think so.

Either we must accept oligarchy as 'iron law' or propose more radical measures to become democratic.



Society functions pretty well now. Maybe it's 80% as good as it can get.
It's an incredibly complex system.
It's way way easier to make a complex system worse then it is to improve it.
WeVe seen the results of radical change in hitlers Germany, mao's china, communist Russia, pol pots Cambodia. . Radical change by people who are lacking in humility are virtually guaranteed to end in catastrophe.
How many million corpses do you need to pile up to accept this.
Mao and Stalin made hitler look like an amateur.
I wouldn't want anyone from the radical left trying to change the economic fabric of society.
I couldn't think of a worse idea then that


Ok, aqua, here's an idea. Let's reform the Senate by using a sortition process - i.e. randomly selecting citizens in each State (respectively) much like the jury lottery we have now. Subject to certain conditions, i.e. age, income and criminal background, almost anyone will be able to be chosen to serve as a senator.

What do you think of this idea?
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Bias_2012
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #6 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:55pm
 
Here's an example of our democracy ... Perth By-Election last Saturday... all the votes that are highlighted, had no value and were thrown in the trash can. Neither were those voters compensated for their time and trouble complying with our oligachy's compulsory voting system



First Preference
     Votes
     
Labor
     Patrick Gorman
     
22,603
39.4%
     
+2.0%


Greens
     Caroline Perks
     
10,780
18.8%
     
+1.7%
Independent
     Paul Collins
     
5,481
9.5%
     
+9.5%
Liberal Dems
     Wesley Du Preez
     
3,813
6.6%
     
+4.9%
-
     Julie Matheson
     
3,090
5.4%
     
+5.4%
Independent
     Jim Grayden
     
2,537
4.4%
     
+4.4%
Animal Justice
     Nicole Arielli
     
1,802
3.1%
     
+3.1%
Independent
     Ian Britza
     
1,683
2.9%
     
+2.9%
Aus Christians
     Ellen Joubert
     
1,458
2.5%
     
+2.5%
Science Party
     Aaron Hammond
     
991
1.7%
     
+1.7%
Mental Health Party
     Ben Mullings
     
920
1.6%
     
+1.6%
Sustainable Aus
     Colin Scott
     
765
1.3%
     
+1.3%
Liberty Alliance
     Tony Robinson
     
675
1.2%
     
+1.2%
Citizens Elect.
     Barry Mason
     
588
1.0%
     
+1.0%
People's Party
     Gabriel Harfouche
     
219
0.4%
     
+0.4%
Liberal
     -
     
-
-
     
-42.3%
Senator On-Line

     -
     
-
-
     
-1.6%
     Informal votes
     
6,407
-
     
-
     Total votes
     
63,812
-
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Auggie
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #7 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 7:18pm
 
Bias_2012 wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:55pm:
Here's an example of our democracy ... Perth By-Election last Saturday... all the votes that are highlighted, had no value and were thrown in the trash can. Neither were those voters compensated for their time and trouble complying with our oligachy's compulsory voting system



First Preference
     Votes
     
Labor
     Patrick Gorman
     
22,603
39.4%
     
+2.0%


Greens
     Caroline Perks
     
10,780
18.8%
     
+1.7%
Independent
     Paul Collins
     
5,481
9.5%
     
+9.5%
Liberal Dems
     Wesley Du Preez
     
3,813
6.6%
     
+4.9%
-
     Julie Matheson
     
3,090
5.4%
     
+5.4%
Independent
     Jim Grayden
     
2,537
4.4%
     
+4.4%
Animal Justice
     Nicole Arielli
     
1,802
3.1%
     
+3.1%
Independent
     Ian Britza
     
1,683
2.9%
     
+2.9%
Aus Christians
     Ellen Joubert
     
1,458
2.5%
     
+2.5%
Science Party
     Aaron Hammond
     
991
1.7%
     
+1.7%
Mental Health Party
     Ben Mullings
     
920
1.6%
     
+1.6%
Sustainable Aus
     Colin Scott
     
765
1.3%
     
+1.3%
Liberty Alliance
     Tony Robinson
     
675
1.2%
     
+1.2%
Citizens Elect.
     Barry Mason
     
588
1.0%
     
+1.0%
People's Party
     Gabriel Harfouche
     
219
0.4%
     
+0.4%
Liberal
     -
     
-
-
     
-42.3%
Senator On-Line

     -
     
-
-
     
-1.6%
     Informal votes
     
6,407
-
     
-
     Total votes
     
63,812
-


I don't really care about this.

Please comment on my idea of the sortition Senate.
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freediver
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #8 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 7:49pm
 
Auggie wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:16pm:
freediver wrote on Jul 30th, 2018 at 9:40pm:
= representative democracy


I understand this dribble now.

Yes, you are correct, representative democracy is oligarchy, but many people here don't seem to think so.

Either we must accept oligarchy as 'iron law' or propose more radical measures to become democratic.


So you thought an entire new theory was necessary because you wanted to use the term oligarchy instead of representative democracy?

Can you explain why the ancients Greeks reverted back to direct democracy so many times of a 500 year span? Does that contradict the theory? Or is the theory just a really complicated way of saying that teamwork is inevitable?
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Auggie
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #9 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 7:53pm
 
freediver wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 7:49pm:
Auggie wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 6:16pm:
freediver wrote on Jul 30th, 2018 at 9:40pm:
= representative democracy


I understand this dribble now.

Yes, you are correct, representative democracy is oligarchy, but many people here don't seem to think so.

Either we must accept oligarchy as 'iron law' or propose more radical measures to become democratic.


So you thought an entire new theory was necessary because you wanted to use the term oligarchy instead of representative democracy?

Can you explain why the ancients Greeks reverted back to direct democracy so many times of a 500 year span? Does that contradict the theory? Or is the theory just a really complicated way of saying that teamwork is inevitable?


Politics in Athens changed over its history depending on who was in power. They had periods of direct democracy, oligarchy, and tyranny. I'm not sure what your point is.
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I will no longer pursue a policy of appeasement. To all the bigots, homophobes, and Islamophobes at OzPol...

CAESAR IS MARCHING WITH HIS LEGIONS.
 
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freediver
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #10 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 7:55pm
 
Would you like to try explaining the theory again, assuming your audience knows what representative democracy is?

Is there something implicit in there that representative democracy is a bad thing because it is oligarchy?
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Auggie
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #11 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 8:10pm
 
freediver wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 7:55pm:
Would you like to try explaining the theory again, assuming your audience knows what representative democracy is?

Is there something implicit in there that representative democracy is a bad thing because it is oligarchy?


No, you're missing my point. The whole point of the 'Iron Rule of Oligarchy' is a theory which states that in large organisations (government included), oligarchy is inevitable so that when people deride or criticise the political class as being selfish leeches, they fail to understand that this is part of the oligarchic system naturally.

Now, the point I'm trying to make also is that representative democracy is NOT actually democracy. Yes, it's more DEMOCRATIC than other forms of government but it's not pure democracy, hence the term 'representative democracy'.
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #12 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 8:17pm
 
In what way is it undemocratic?
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Auggie
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #13 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 10:18pm
 
freediver wrote on Jul 31st, 2018 at 8:17pm:
In what way is it undemocratic?


Because there's no direct participation in the decision-making process.
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freediver
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Re: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Reply #14 - Jul 31st, 2018 at 10:22pm
 
So it's only democratic if all 20 million of us are directly involved in every decision before parliament?

What if the first decision all 20 million of us made was that we should be able to choose someone to represent us?

Is there any more to this "theory" than changing the definition of a bunch of words so the author can stroke his own ego trying to come up with something sensible out of what is left?
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