According to Roberto Michels the Institutions of Modern, Mass Societies Require Hierarchical Forms of Organization
The German political theorist, Roberto Michels introduces the idea of an "iron law of oligarchy," the application of a hierarchy of power. This establishes the idea that democratic institutions are naturally hierarchal in nature, with inflexible organisational processes. His theory states that "democratic" institutions, such as political parties, take away the right for the mass membership to participate in the policy process. The natural conclusion of this argument is that democracy is not an attainable goal, as any inherent elite leadership are granted the power to dominate over members. However, it is the definitions of democracy, leadership and accountability in leadership, which are pivotal to this theory. It is with changed notions of these crucial ideas, that democracy is certainly a realistic and even realised goal in contemporary society.
According to his book, Political Parties, Michels asserts that the strategic and policy decisions required of political leaders in democracies are too complex to directly involve large groups of people. As a result, decisions are made by a small group of people (the oligarchy) and broadly consented to by the party's mass members. Michels' states: "Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy, " meaning that no movement could succeed without organising itself. …
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