The iron law of oligarchy is a concept used in sociology (coined by Robert Michels ) to qualify the tendency of any organization to secrete an oligarchic elite .
The iron law of oligarchy is to be linked to the elitist critique of democracy. According to Michels, “the organization is the source from which is born the domination of elected officials over voters, representatives over constituents, delegates over those who delegate them. "
Any organization generates relations of domination. Processes of internal differentiation and division of labor take place, and as partisan organization develops, we see the emergence of a bureaucracy populated by professional leaders. These will be based on the control of collective resources released by the organization and will develop know-how that allows them to collect mandates and responsibilities. They almost become irremovable leaders. This means that the organization creates leaders who become independent from the masses and cut off from their control. It is a process of harnessing power.
A classic example of the iron law of oligarchy is politics in which the extremly large resources needed in order to take part in the game make it one that only few can play.