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Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Danielle Chamberland

on 3 March 2016

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Transcript of Individualism vs. Collectivism

An ideology that places the needs and goals of the collective, or group, before those of any individual member of the group, and is based on a belief in the interdependence of human society. Collectivism views society as one big family, all needing each other. It is the “we” perspective on life. We should all be connected, flexible to the needs of others and completely public about all parts of our life. We should work hard to fit in to society and help the collective group. All that matters is that the group succeeds. It’s all about the team. The most important thing in life is to do your duty and serve the whole of society. It’s not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country that matters most

Examples of Collectivism in society.
If we're talking about the economy, collectivism refers to a system in which the distribution of goods and services is controlled by the government or the state, or by groups of individuals. In this kind of economic system, the means of production, or the materials, buildings, and machines used to make things, are not owned by private individuals.
A socialist economy is an example of an economic system that is collectivist in nature. Its a system that seeks to make sure that the needs of people come before the needs of profit, making it different from capitalism's more individualistic focus.For example, joint ownership of farms was a common practice in the former Soviet Union. Farmers would own land collectively and benefit from pooling their labor and resources. In more extreme examples of collectivism, private property is eliminated entirely.In politics, collectivism is found in a system such as democracy. In this system, citizens vote for their leader, and after the votes are counted, you are expected to accept this leader, even if it wasn't the leader you voted for. This is an example of collectivism, because here we're privileging the collective, or the majority of voters. For example, Canada's multicultural, individualistic endeavors, goes against the Quebecois views. Therefore the Quebecois struggle is to go against this and assert itself as a distinct collective group of French speaking people in Canada. They would not be considered individualistic because wanting a group identity can only happen through collective approach.
Values of Collectivism
An ideology that values the rights and freedoms of the individual, often above the security and harmony of the whole group. Individualism is what the root word implies, about the individual. It is the “I” perspective on life. We should respect others while prioritizing personal achievement. We should be independent, connected to other only as much as is necessary to succeed. We should be private about our lives. Being a part of a group is acceptable but not required. Life is not a team sport, but an individual event.

Examples of Individualism in society.
In reference to individualism, Canada's multiculturalism is quite an individualistic policy, because the needs of every group and therefore every individual must be represented in the same way.
The United States can clearly been seen as individualistic. The “American dream” is clearly a representation of this. This is the Americans’ hope for a better quality of life and a higher standard of living. This belief is that anyone, regardless of their status can ‘pull up their boots’ and raise themselves and be better people.

Values of Individualism
Individualism vs. Collectivism
Danielle Chamberland
Social 30-2
1. Economic Equality
While Economic Equality is a principle of Collectivism, it's meaning differs from one ideology to the next. There is not one single aspect or definition of economic equality that is set in stone because of many different was of looking at what is actually means. For example, some may think that if you have a larger income than other people, it is your responsibility to pay into a larger tax bracket. There may be people that believe it is in their best interest to own the mean of production (factories or companies that produce goods) collectively, and finally that everyone should earn equal wages based on the the type or work that has a similar value. To have economic equality means that people feel collectively important within their society, and in a collective society it is crucial that their is trust and understanding for it to function properly. In Canada, for example, the policy of progressive taxation could be seen as an attempt to redistribute wealth. This means that people who earn more money are taxed at a higher rate, creating a feeling of equality of the people within the majority which is the middle class and when they see the wealthy people being taxed more it makes them feel better and the balance of collectivism continues.

2. Adherence to collective norms
Groups usually impose norms, or standards on their members as a condition of membership in the group. Those norms can relate to conduct, values, or appearance. While they are voluntary, the group members generally see these standards as binding, which makes adherence to collective norms important. As an example for Adherence to collective norms may be censorship. This is deliberately restricting information the public will see - is another example of the imposition of a collective norm.
3. Collective Responsibility
Means holding the whole group responsible for the actions of individuals within the group. Collective responsibility asserts that there is no individual actions for which the group cannot in some way be held accountable for. And that's what makes this value one of the most important because in a collective it would be one of the greatest goals to keep every one happy, safe and honest. Collective responsibility ensures that the rules are followed based on a sort of peer pressure. If you were the one that was always getting the group in trouble then you'd be looked down upon and maybe that would change your idea about acting out against the group. Acknowledgment of collective responsibility is often made in response to deep-rooted social problems that cannot be addressed by targeting individuals or a single group. For example, campaigns against underage drinking often state that the cure for this problem must be a collective responsibility. When you look at monthly quotas that bosses place on their workers and if one person does not reach that goal or quota the entire line up of workers are usually punished because one person failed.

4. Collective Interest
Refers to the set of interests that members of a group have in common. More specifically, the principle of collective interest states that while individual members may have individual interest, these interest are often better addressed by making them a common set of interests that the group can address together. Collective interest is the basis for the organized labor movement, which happened during the Industrial Revolution. As members of organized trade unions, workers were able to fight successfully for better working conditions and higher rated of pay - successes that individuals could not have realized alone. When people come together with similar interest it helps bring together the feeling of collectivism and has an overall positive effect for the community or group. Collective interest is also the foundation for social movements, such as human rights groups, professional groups, or international organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations. All of these groups represent people with common interests and goals who come together to press for what they believe needs to change and become better for the desired outcome.
5. Public Property
Public property is anything such as, land, buildings, vehicles, that is not privately owned by individuals. In most cases, public property is owned by the state of the community, and managed according to the best interest of the community. Different ideologies support the ideas of public property to varying degree. In a Communist state where each member is working for the common benefit of the state, all industries could be public property -- controlled by the state for the common good of the collective. Another example of Public property is Crown land. This is land that is owned by the federal or provincial governments. Authority for control of these public lands rests with the Crown, hence their name. Less than 11% of Canada's land is in private hands; 41% is federal crown land and 48% is provincial crown land. With Crown land it allows people to use the land under strick rules for many different purposes. Area around lakes such as Lower Therien Lake would be considered Crown land. My Dad has been given permission from the government to pasture our cows there during the summer. With the opportunity to have our cows there it allows us to save money, because we don't have to by other pasture land.

6. Co-operation
All collectivist ideologies emphasize co-operation, a principle which can be beneficial to individuals and groups because individuals are unique and have different ideas about how to do things. Co-operation is the mean through which members of a group or a collective achieves their common goals. It may involve designating roles, following certain protocols, or following guidelines for decisions making. Cooperatives are present in all the countries and in almost all sectors, including agriculture. Strong cooperatives are able to overcome many of the difficulties faced by farmers; wherein a country like India 85% are small and marginal farms. They work on the set of principles, among these principles is the concern for the sustainable development of the community. There are a number of successful cooperatives in India itself like IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd.). Sustainable Farming systems generate year round employment and sustainable income through crops, vegetables, fruits and livestock.This has helped ecological resilience and rural livelihood enhancement among the community. The Farmer have been immensely benefit in increasing efficiency of various agricultural inputs and overall crop production in finally marking better profit through the efforts of cooperatives. Co-operation is a fundamental aspect Collectivism because that is exactly what collectivist ideologies is all about, working together for the better of the entire group.
1. Rule of Law
2. Self-Interest
Self-interest is acting in the way that is most personally beneficial to yourself. It is possible to achieve the best economic benefit for all even when, and in fact because, individuals tend to act in their own sefl-interest. The forces of supply and demand in the marketplace work to the benefit of the majority. When there is too much supply of a product, the price drops and, eventually so does the supply. When demand is greater than supply, the price of the product rises, and more people enter the marketplace to profit and eventually causing supply to meet demands once again. With the idea of the "invisible hand" that guides individuals to contribute for the common good of themselves and the people around them.
3. Economic Freedom
On a personal level, economic freedom is the freedom to buy what you want and to sell you labor, ideas, or product to who ever you want to. Markets in which consumers and businesses have free choices to buy, sell, or trade, without government interference in those agreements, are called free markets. Economic freedom would mean that there were no barriers to trade for products they might want to export, and that their customers would not have to pay taxes on their purchases. This is truly important in an individualistic society. As seen with the dropping oil prices, there are many people that are struggling to support their families with the amount of jobs that have been lots. In the 1930s after the Great depression, Canada implemented policies designed to create a "social safety net" or economic freedom for Canadians. The Unemployment Insurance Act, the Canadian Pension Plan, and the Medical Care Act, all in an effort to help to people who had lost their jobs. With the falling prices of oil it is extremely important that these policies are in place because it helps people care for their families.
4. Individual Rights and Freedoms
5. Competition
6. Private Property
Personally, i believe that John Locke and I would have many of the same values when it comes to being placed on the ideological spectrum. Like Mr. Locke and his belief that people were rational, somewhat intelligent and that the only reason government existed was to protect life, liberty, and property, my ideologies and opinion on human nature would fall precisely in the middle of the spectrum and maybe a little more towards the right. My reasoning is directly based on the fact that without some sort of government there would be no order in any country. Furthermore, I think that people should be able to be independent and strong members of society. In a strongly collective society there are hardly any opportunity for people to be independent and reliable people in society because they have the crutch of the overpowering government to catch them. Nevertheless, this could also be a good aspect because when people start to struggle as a collective the government will focus on helping the people, where as in an individualistic society you would not see too much of that. On the other hand, in a more individualistic society, you are forced to act on your own and truly become a positive member of society. And for that reason, I would consider myself to be slightly right but still closer to the middle
7. Social Contract
During the period Enlightenment, people began asking why they should be forced to consent or agree to be part of society and be governed by others. One answer to this question came form the three philosophers that we have talked about. They all contributed to the idea that each individual of society should agree to be governed so that he or she may gain the benefits of living in that society by having access such as, defense against enemies and trade opportunities. A social contract allows. An example of how a social contract works would be the legal system. For augments sake, if I was to have stolen all of someones money, instead of fighting it out with fists or raiding there house to find it with a gun, both parties put their faith in the legal system which agree will be more impartial, and get to the truth. I surrender my right to take matters into my own hands on the condition and the other person will also do the same. Why would anyone want to do this? Because there are more benefits than not having the system in place. The other person may not be able to get revenge for the money that I stole but it is a better way to solve a problem. A real-world example of this would be the Deceleration of Independence. In which it states, that although society is being governed, they have the ability to make amendments, speak their mind, and argue their view at any time. In order for this to happen however, the people must give up certain rights in order for the social contract the be followed.The Declaration says that governments derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed. This corresponds to the idea that people agree to be governed. The Declaration also says that the government needs to protect people's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This corresponds to the idea that the government has to protect the people's important freedoms. In this way, the Declaration very clearly upholds the idea of the social contract.

The Rule of Law is that the law itself, and not the individual, has the greatest power and that all individuals are subject to the law. In other words, every individual is equal before the law. Rules are clearly defined as opposed to the arbitrary power of an individual or group in power. Individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. In reference to Individualism, this is a crucial part of what it stands for because with the Rule of Law in place, the chance of collectives or even people that are looking for greater power over individuals is something that is almost impossible to achieve. If the law itself did not hold a greater power over individuals there would be for certain someone to step in and take over the power that the law possesses. This value of individualism ensure that no one person can have more control then the law itself, solidifying the notion of equality within a society. For example the very first illustration of the Rule of Law was set back in 1215, during the Enlightenment period in Europe when the Magna Carta was written. This document was written to limit the powers of the ruler of England, who was at the time was King John. He believed that he was the ultimate ruler and that it was acceptable for him to treat his people like slaves and continually raise taxes making it impossible to live anything close to a good quality of life for anyone but himself. Enraged by what was happening Barons and the Pope of the Roman Catholic church demanded that a rule be set in place so that the King was forced to limit the taxes paid to him and sign the Magna Carta, which stated that he was subject to the law along with everyone else.
Rights and freedoms of individuals that are protected by the law, and cannot be taken away under normal circumstances. Individual Rights and Freedoms are a key principle of individualism and are an important feature of liberal democracies. Examples of such rights and freedoms include freedom of religion, freedom of association, and the right to life, liberty, and the security of the individual. One of the most important individual right in liberty democracies is the right to vote stated on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For example, Japanese Canadians were denied the right to vote in a federal election until 1948. These exclusions extended to a variety of racial and ethnic groups, all with various limitations on the right to vote based on their province of residence, until the new federal laws in 1948 finally prohibited citizens from being denied their right to vote on the basis of their race.
Because the ownership of private property allows people to seek and maximize their holdings, private ownership allows for the invisible hand of the market to act, as per Adam Smith. Suppliers seek to supply the smallest quantity at the highest cost; consumers seek to get the largest quantity for the smallest price, both groups act to maximize their interests and the markets decide the price. Without private property ownership people would not seek to set up enterprises, there would be no incentive to go to college as wages would be standardized due to lack of purchasing power. I private property was not part of our society the chances of a collective ideology rising up in support of of the people would be very likely. This value drives people to be successful and without it the opportunity to provide and be prosperous for your family. The protection of private property can also be a source of conflict in the realm of intellectual property. For example, biotechnology companies expend large amounts of time and money developing new varieties of drought-resistant wheat, that can benefit the individual farmers. Farmers who grown thee varieties must pay royalties to the companies who own the newly developed plants.
One of the main advantages of competition in any situation whether it is Economic, political or social, it can create an environment where people are forced beyond their normal limits, which can result in increased production or advantages, both at an individual level and among the entire workforce as a whole. As individual production numbers increase which will benefit you in the long run. Another way in which competition can be an advantage for individuals is that it can spur a commitment to self-improvement. While financial incentives and bonuses are always a plus to get the competition going, those who see the bigger picture may take the competition as an opportunity to better themselves in the process of winning the competition. Self-improvement may include actions goal setting to achieve goals and simply performing higher quality work. Look at just about every person in this school. They work there tails off all in an effort to become the better student who can get the scholarship that's worth more money or get the higher average. All that is competition to better themselves as individuals so that they can become better members of society. And really what's wrong with that? It gives students the chance to know what it's really like in the really world when we will actually have to fight for everything we want instead of getting it handed to us.

"You dont kill me, I won't kill you!"
" Hey! Sounds great!"
Photo of Japanese Canadians exercising their right to vote in the 1963 general election
The green colored land is crown land
7. Interdependence
Interdependence is a state of a group in which removal or destruction of one portion of the group necessarily results in the destruction of members of the group. Take grain farming for instance, it is the farmers responsibility to product wheat or other market worthy crops so that he will be able to make money on the sales of it and make good grade (which is he quality of the seed) so that the grain is able to go of to the mill. The Mill will process and prepare the grain in whatever fashion is desired for the product, then they will send the flour to bakeries or to a cereal company. At this point the bakery will add products that they have gotten from other producers like dairy farmers or sugar for the cereal. To make the boxes for the cereal, shipments of cardboard will be bought from a paper mill, which buys lumber from a lumber company, who ships there lumber via a truck company, that also ships boxes of cereal to the supermarket, who sells to the consumer. Multiple industries rely on other people to produce a single product. In a collective society interdependence is crucial because it requires and encouraged people to work together for the better of the entire community and in respect to the example, an entire country.

Economic Equality
Adherence to collective norms
Collective Responsibility
Collective Interest
Public Property
Rule of Law
Economic Freedom
Individual Right and Freedoms
Private Property
Social Contract
Another example of a philosopher that believed in individualism was Adam Smith. He had the belief that the "Laissez-faire" philosophies, such as minimizing the role of government intervention and taxation in the free markets, and the idea that an "invisible hand" guides supply and demand are among the key ideas Smith's believed in. These ideas reflect the concept that each person, by looking out for him or herself, inadvertently helps to create the best outcome for all.

Thomas Hobbes generally is identified as the most important person of modern individualist philosophy. Hobbes said that individuals natural liberty (as well as equality) was based on the the idea that whatever actions are necessary in order to preserve themselves from their fellow creatures was necessary and acceptable. Hobbes believed that the exercise of such natural liberty logically leads to inevitable conflict and unremitting fear so long as no single sovereign ruler exists to maintain peace.
John Locke's beliefs were more in the middle but in this case he will be an example of a man that agreed with collectivism.
J.J Rousseau believed that people could always work together and create laws for themselves without the need of much or any government.
J.J Rousseau
John Locke
Thomas Hobbes
Adam Smith
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