practice and public opinion

4 nov

Good Morning everyone !

Firstly, we would like to thank you for being so much to follow us on our blog, days after days!

 

FRANCE:

Behind the national assembly curtains many lobbies are trying to affect laws and power, sometimes they try to corrupt deputies with gift, already written amendements or brainwash conferences. But what about French true exemples of this process?

 

French lobby of tobacco is interesting because it shows an exemple were a lobby is just one group pro-tobacco it is many groups fighting to promote advantages on the tobacco field in France. Three of the actors are very influent: tobacconist’s shop (which have a monopolist right to sell in France) , Big tobacco (multinationals such as Marlboro) and the last one is a very subversive point of view indeed Bercy can be seen as a lobby as well (among the 18 billion euros generated by the tobacco industry 15 billion are taxes gained by the French government)  . Those three actors have a strong interest bond. Moreover, to get elected representatives to vote what they need lobbies of tobacco invite deputies to « hospitality programs » giving amendment already written, proposed law. They also say to deputies of senators that if they vote against the tobacco industry they can lose the French smokers vote and they give many gifts, advantages and promesses to the elected officials accepting to make their voice heard.

That is an obvious example of the influence of lobbies.

 

The public opinion about lobbies is very negative in France, indeed earlier I was explaining that during the Vichy regime it was approved and encouraged to use lobby mechanism. Therefore, French population is often critical and fighting against lobbies. A poll realized in 2013 by the EU citizens survey association a question was asked: « are lobbyists such as companies representatives are giving birth to politics which doesn’t take account of the public interest? » 81% of French citizens agreed indeed they thought that lobbies are often acting against the public interest. But is it a disagreement against lobbies or against capitalistic economy in general?

 

If lobbies are more interested about their benefits than the public good isn’t it the same about every part of our modern economical world, isn’t the theory of Adam Smith of the invisible hand accurate about lobbies as well as production in general. Nowadays many individuals are seeking for individual’s self-interested actions, but is it giving social benefits at the end of the road? If lobbies permits to ask questions about how our society works, it is important to remember than sometimes lobbys are viewed as good things, small fields like ecology or public health are being encouraged by French citizens. Indeed many people are giving monthly money to Greenpeace, UNICEF, OXFAM, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL expecting those associations to speak with our officials representatives to get to vote in favor of their beliefs to protect the environment and humanitarian causes.

 

 

USA:

Today, everyone knows that America is known for having an incredible number of lobbies. We counted lately ….

Some sectors are more affected than others by lobbies. Such as the armaments sector! The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the best-known association in terms of armaments. At each new incident, shootings, crimes: the debate start again. Protected by the second amendment to the constitution which allows the carrying of firearms, this association seems untouchable. But sometimes, we can see with incidents like the Parkland high school shooting in February 2018, people or firms, who finally dare to oppose to the NRA.

 

It’s unexpected, but the most popular sector is still the technology sector! We could easily understand why some people think that, it is the giants like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft who make the law.

Finally, some sectors such as agribusiness and tobacco are also very present. Everyone knew Monsanto or tobacco. Actually, Monsanto has been the subject of several complaints and lawsuits. however, he has always succeeded in recent years,

to put pressure on politics.

 

Today a lot of people are afraid of falling into a dictatorship of lobbies! Where the most powerful make the law.

We can see that for some authors, money is not the only factor that matters to be a powerful lobby. In his book: Lobbying and Policy Change, who wins, who loses, and why, Frank Baumgartner explain that “money isn’t always the decisive factor for a success. But he admits that globally, it’s the financial resources which determined the ability to last over time”. Finally, we can say that this factor remains important.

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