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Client politics is the type of politics when an organized minority or interest group benefits at the expense of the public. Client politics may have a strong interaction with the dynamics of identity politics.
This is particularly common in a pluralist system, such as in the United States, where minorities can have considerable power shaping public policy. The opposite of client politics is 'entrepreneurial' politics, or conviction politics.
An example of this is tariffs on imported goods in order to keep prices high. The public is largely unaware and/or indifferent to a slight increase in the prices of goods while manufacturers are dependent and very aware of the subsidizing effect of tariffs on competing products. Thus, local manufacturers will most likely strive to maintain tariffs and may succeed quite often.
Another example with farmers is the common use of potentially harmful pesticides. Due to the sheer amount of pesticides on the market and the difficulty on testing each one, there lacks conclusive evidence that many of the pesticides in use would harm the environment, leading to a lack of public consensus of what to do. Farmers, on the other hand, are extremely sensitive to the benefits that such chemicals have on crop yield and will organize to keep pesticides available for use.
Most porkbarrel legislation would be considered to be client politics.
- Earmark (politics)
- Electoral district
- Identity politics
- Interest group liberalism
- Money loop
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