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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 partys mass members Michels states Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy meaning that no movement could succeed without organising itself Organization meant bureaucracy and bureaucracy would always prevent democracy Thus a truly democratic society is unachievable and the concept of democracy is an oxymoron Michels comes to this conclusion as he examined the German Socialist Party and other democratic institutions - as organizations and not from ideological perspectives He believed all institutions served the interests of their oligarchies However Michels is not the only scholar who believed institutions are hierarchical Ostrogorsky Weber and Duverger are theorists who agreed that the organizational structures of democracies are essential as working classes can only achieve privileges by combining into organizations Michels noted that the German socialist party failed to live up to its ideology of equality Once in control the organizational oligarchy always
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