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Individualism VS. Collectivism

Alberta Social 30-2

Kiley Carson

on 31 March 2015

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Transcript of Individualism VS. Collectivism

Collectivism VS. Individualism
Collectivism is defined as...
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 the belief in the interdependence of human society.
Public Property
Collectivist movements promote the idea of public property.
- This is anything that is not privately owned by an individual or individuals

Public property is owned by the state and managed according to the best interests of society.

Making property public is a way to address "economic inequality".

In a communist state, all industries could be public property.
- It is controlled by the state for the common good of the collective
- It is believed that workers should collectively own factories and businesses because they should profit from their own labour.
In a liberal democracy public property is displayed in a smaller extent.
- An example in Canada is
Crown Land
. It is rented/leased to individuals or companies as a way to economically benefit Canadians.

The Canadian government also owns companies called
Crown Corporations
- These are formed to serve the common good
- Often they are the essential resources or fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area.
- The government manages these properties with the interest of the public. They are also maintained with the public money raised through taxation.
- This includes transportation and communication systems, power plants, and schools.

An individual that supports collectivism might argue that public property is fair to the workers and provides motivation because each worker has a stake.

Therefore: Everyone will have a greater interest in a projects success.

Public property can also be seen as an "unrealistic view of human nature".
- When the group is small, each individuals actions have a noticeable effect on the collective effort making it easier to maintain peoples motivation.

- When the group is large, however, an individual may be less motivated because one's contributions are a very small part of the collective effort and make little difference.
Individualism can be defined as...
an ideology that values the rights and freedoms of the individual, often above the security and harmony of the whole group.
Individualism led to the development of a new political ideology called
- Liberalism focuses on the importance of individual liberty or freedoms.

In the late
liberal ideas, such as
individual rights and freedoms
, became important.
- The government began to guarantee the rights of an individual

the American colonies declared independence from Britain and founded their new country based on the
Declaration of Independence
The individualistic ideas had a strong impact on the USA.

, during the French Revolution, the middle and peasant classes proclaimed their desire for more rights and freedoms.

the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" was developed. It symbolized France's transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.

During the 1900s liberal democracies began to develop.
Political expressions of collectivism include:
- people having to agree as a group to abide to a set of laws
- supporting education for all members of society through the taxes that everyone pays.
- a
is a group of people
Collectivism emphasizes the role of "human interdependence" in society.
- the idea that individuals do not live their lives in isolation but depend on one another in many ways
Collectivism emphasizes the idea that companionship and the support and approval of others contribute to our personal happiness and fulfillment
Examples of Collectivism in Canadian Society:
- Employment Insurance
- Charter and Constitution for Aboriginal people and official language groups
- Restorative justice programs
- Crown land and Crown companies
- Co-operatives
- Public health care
- Public education
- Welfare
Early Collectivist Ideas
- Many Aboriginal people value collectivism in their traditional cultures.

- Their values reflected concern for the common good when dealing with issues.
ex. land management, community decision making, educating and raising children

- Often First Nations' worldviews reflect interconnectedness.
- The individual is seen as part of a collective and the strength of a community comes from the relationships among these individuals.
- Their worldview can be described as holistic. This means the whole society is more valuable than the individual components would be if they were seperate.
Collectivism focuses on the importance of the needs of the community to achieve the common good rather than individual needs.
The ideas developed in Jean-Jacques Rousseau essay called
The Social Contract
have become the political foundations for collectivist values.

He says that every individual living in a society has a
social contract
with all the other members.
- social contract: an understand whereby each individual of a society agrees to be governed so that he or she may gain the benefits of living in that society.

Another idea is that individuals voluntarily give up their own self-interests to follow the
collective will
of society and that this general will aims to promote the common good, liberty and equality.
- collective will: the wants or wishes of a group of people

"The Social Contract"
The concept of
and the ideologies
reflect collectivist values.
Collective Interest
- Most collectivist ideologies have
collective interest
as one of their fundamental ideas.

- Collective interest can be thought of as a goal or ideal that all members of a group pursue that benefits the group as a whole, rather than benefiting any one individual.

- Individuals base their decisions and actions on the common goal of the group even if this means that they must sacrifice their personal goals and interests

- Individual excellence is only encouraged it benefits or does not harm the group
- An individuals efforts for the sake of one's own benefit is looked down on

- Collective interest is the foundation for social movements and lobby groups
- Examples are human rights groups, professional groups and organizations.

- Collectives represent people with common interests and goals who come together to press for change and reform.

- A political expression of collective interest can be found in recognition of collective rights.
- In Canada there are some specific legal collective rights guaranteed in the Charter and Constitution for Aboriginal people and official language groups.

- Collective interest can also have major economic and social effects.
Ex. When labour unions pursue the collective interests of their individual members to achieve more favourable contracts or working conditions
Collective Responsibility
Collective Responsibility has two different aspects:
- The group's responsibility for the actions of all its individual members.
Ex. the group may be rewarded for an individual's accomplishments or may be punished for an individual's mistakes.

- The idea that individuals have a responsibility to the group rather than to themselves.

Both these ideas are important to the value of collective responsibility because they reinforce the idea of the group taking priority over the individual.

Environmental policies are an example of the positive impact collective responsibility can have on society.
If we as Canadians do not adopt practices such as recycling, our actions not only affect ourselves but the entire world.
A co-operative is an example of an economic collective.

- It is an enterprise that is owned and operated by a group of people for their mutual benefit
- It provides services or products to its members
- Daycare centers, health care centers, stores and credit unions can all be owned and managed co-operatively.
- Some of the guiding principles include voluntary and open membership, democratic control by members and economic participation by members
Social Expressions of Collectivism
Some aspects of individual's identities come from memberships in groups and collectives, and include the values and interests shared.

An individuals membership and acceptance in a group can depend on one's:
- co-operation with other members of the group
- sense of collective responsibility
- respect for the groups norms and rules of behaviour

The values stated above are important social values of collective ideologies.
"Lifting" society all together
Everyone "lifting" their own "piece" of society.
- Co-operation means working together to accomplish common goals.
- Co-operation is require for success in most group activities, whether its a sports team, group project, or in a job.

- Co-operation is an important value in collectivist thinking.
- It demonstrates the idea that when individuals put the goals of the group ahead of their personal goals success it likely.

How an individual responds to bullying demonstrates a social expression of collectivism.

- Caring enough to do something is an example of collective responsibility.

Adherence to social norms is a specific manner in which a society or group influences the actions of its members.

- This can mean a devotion, support or attachment to certain rules and traditions in society, which can be potentially empowering or limiting to the members of the group.

- Sometimes individuals who are members of group will support or make a decision that respects the social expectations and values which may or may not coincide with their own beliefs.
- If their decision does NOT reflect their values then it could be a decision made from fear of being judged by the group.

- This is a commonly experienced pressure to conform and adhere to the social norms.

Collective norms are a set of accepted behaviours and values that are promoted by a group.

Individual members of the group may experience guidance from the rules of the collective norms OR may feel pressure to conform.

If their values match those of the group, one can feel more strongly connected to that group.
If their values contrast those of the group, they may not be able or willing to conform.
- This can potentially lead to punishment or rejection from a group.

Collective norms help reinforce the group's values and collective identity.
They can also have a positive or negative impact on the members of the collective.
Economic individualism demonstrates these ideas:

- Market forces determine quantities, prices and distribution
- Individual freedom
- Individual responsibility
- Little protection for employees, consumers and the environment
- The market determines the values of everyone and everything
Economic Individualism
During the
Middle Ages
, individualism was essentially unheard of.

Values and beliefs began to change as Europe entered the age of the
. There was a increasing interest of the individual in this time period.

During the
Age of Enlightenment
philosophers began writing about the importance of the individual and the European society began to change.
The a variety of beliefs arose in this time period, including:
- the idea that each individual person mattered
- that rather than religion, reason should be the source of knowledge
- that each individual was reasonable and capable of governing himself
Individualism lead to the political ideology called
Political Aspects
Economic Aspects
Social Aspects
Focuses on the idea that all members of society have the same legal rights and freedoms, regardless of their gender, race of economic status.
Focuses on the individual's right to property and the removal of government control in economic markets, so that the value of goods and services is decided by individuals (or individual companies) NOT the government.
Focuses on the idea that individuals are the basis of society, and, as such, all individuals in society should be treated as equals and have access to the rights, freedoms and a quality of life.
Liberal Democracy
A liberal democracy is a form of government in which the rights and freedoms of the individual are guaranteed.

In this form of government individuals are allowed to vote for the leaders of their country.

Individualism still influences many liberal democratic governments to this day.
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the individual rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens

Though liberalism started based on the beliefs and values of individualism, collectivism is starting to be incorporated.

Rule of Law and the Social Contract
During the Enlightenment period in Europe, philosophers began to question why some people ruled over others.
- This is how an idea called the
"rule of law"

rule of law
is the idea that the law itself, and
an individual, has the greatest power and that
individuals are subject to the law.

Along with the idea of that all individuals are subject to law and that no one is above it, the idea that each individual is reasonable and capable of governing himself arose.

This lead to the question;
Why should individuals consent or agree to be part of society and governed by others?

Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all contributed to the idea of the social contract and therefore the answer to the question,
- In a social contract, each individual of a society agrees to be governed and to abide to the rule of law so that one gains the benefits of living in that society.

Individual Rights and Freedoms
As political liberalism became more prevalent in society, declarations or charters were created to ensure that all members of society had the same legal rights and freedoms.

There are also limits to an individuals rights and freedoms.

Canadian courts and governments also make decisions about what individual rights entail and what the reasonable limits to these rights and freedoms are.

Individual rights and freedoms are a key value of individualism and an important component of liberal democracies.
- Examples include freedom of religion, freedom of association, and the right to life, liberty, and security
Examples of Individualism in the Canadian Society:
Individual Rights and Freedoms

The right for education:
- Free education up until the age of 20
- Individuals who have French as their first language have the right to learn in French

"How responsible should the government be for the well-being of individuals".
This question poses an important discussion and demonstrates the various degrees of individualism.
This is influences how people feel about government involvement in topics such as education, health care and public safety.

Some individuals believe that one cannot enjoy equal opportunity with too much government involvement. Whereas, others believe that because of circumstances that are out of an individuals control the government must support those who are at disadvantage.
An important individual in liberal democracies is the right to vote.
- Initially not all citizens had this right. At first only men, mainly those who owned property.

Britain restrictions on the right to vote:
- Middle class men were allowed to vote in 1832
- Working class men had to wait until 1885
- Woman were able to vote in 1919 only if they were over the age of 30

Other countries, such as South Africa restrict the right to vote on race. And the Canadian government restricted First Nations and Inuit peoples and certain immigrants' right to vote.

Now the right to vote includes all individuals of a certain age, 18 in Canada, and older.

Freedom of Speech

"I may disagree with what you say but I with defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire
This statement highlights a basic democratic right: Freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is considered to be a
fundamental right.
However similar to the right to vote, there are limits to this freedom.
- Stated by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, one's rights and freedoms can be limited "as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

Facebook and the internet serve to be a forum for individuals to make their opinions public. This is part of freedom of speech.
Throughout history the government has had a significant influence on what people can but and how much they pay for what they buy.

There have been times where the government has had complete control over the economy AND when the government has removed its control.

When the government removes control, it demonstrates economic liberalism.

Economic Liberalism focuses on allowing individuals to decide the price of goods and services and the freedom to make choices as consumers.
Throughout the
1500s to 1700s
many countries had
as the basis for their economic systems.
- Mercantilism is the idea that a country should export more goods than it imports, accumulate wealth, and protect its economy by taxing and setting quotas on imports

There was also the belief that health of the economy depended on oppression of the working class.
- The working class "produced more" when hey had no extra money, free time or education.

In the
late 1700s
"physiocrats" began trying to describe what the natural laws of an economy might be if there were no government controls or intervention.

Adam Smith, a physiocrat, published a book called
The Wealth of Nations
which altered the economics around the world.
- In his book Smith suggests that a
free-market economy
is more productive and beneficial to society than mercantilism

A free-market economy allows the price for
goods and services to be set by the demand
for them.

In a free-market economy, the government does
NOT set the prices. Instead the fluctuate with the
supply and demand.

Noesgaard, Debbie. Understandings of Ideologies. Don Mills, ON: Oxford UP, 2010. 42 - 89. Print.
By Kiley Carson
Mercantilism =
Free Market Economy =
Adam Smith Believed...
Smith also believed that humans generally act out of

- His belief was that this can help others and contribute to the common good through ones individual efforts.

Smith used the expression
to describe his ideas.
- He felt that people should be allowed to better themselves through hard work without the interference of government, ultimately leading to a healthier economy.

Smith spoke about a system where individuals worked for their own self-interests therefore benefiting society as a whole.
It's not about you.
It's about the team.

Me before we.
Economic Freedom, Self Interest and Competition
Freedom to buy what you want and to sell your labour or work at a job are key economic freedoms.

Individuals choose jobs based on their own personal self-interests.
- That could be the job closest to their homes, the job that has the best hours, the job that pays the highest or a job that provides experience for a future career.

Employers also make decisions based on their own interests
- They get to chose hiring
- They want to pay employees in a way that they can make a profit and continue to compete in the market.

Buyers self-interest usually include paying the lowest price for the best quality product/service.

Markets in which consumers and businesses have free choice are called free markets
Private Property
- Some people believe that private property is a key reason for people to live as part of a society.

- Others believe that the ability to privately own property is an important right in society

Initially property law referred to land or real estate only. However now it includes three types of property: real estate, other physical possessions and intellectual property (for example a novel).
Economic Freedom Self Interest Competition Private Property
Key Values of Economic Individualism
Social Expressions of Individualism
Society places a significant amount of importance on the rights and freedoms of the individual. However, this does not mean every individual has the same advantages and disadvantages.

Some people are faced with physical and mental challenges that make it more difficult to earn a living. And others may experience unfair treatment based on external identification.

Liberals in today's society believe that these experiences can threaten an individual's freedoms and therefore the government must address these challenges and intervene.
Social Roots of Liberalism
As liberalism developed, the idea that the government should have an obligation to protect and support those living in poverty.

Many governments did introduce laws and programs to improve conditions for the working class.

Throughout the Great Depression many liberals pushed to have more government support for those in need.

The question "how could someone living in poverty be free in the same way as someone who can afford education and health care?" arose.
This idea modified the beliefs of classical liberals who initially believed that less government intervention meant more freedom.
Some liberals pushed the need for government more than others.
Some believed health care should be free to those living in poverty.
Others felt that health care should be free to everyone.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of how much participation the government should have in protecting an individual's rights and freedoms.
The Right to Education
The governments role in ensuring that everyone has access to education is complex.

In Canada, many believe that the government has to make sure that schools meet the needs of all people of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
Others believe that the government should treat education like a free market and allow the forces of supply and demand to decide what types of schools should exist.

Alberta was ranked first among all Canadian provinces for educational freedom in 2003.

In the United States there has been a movement towards the privatization of schooling.
23% are private in the USA compared to the 4% in Alberta.

Extreme Individualists believe in privatizing public education because they believe that it is not the role of the government to dictate what education looks like.
Capital Punishment and Individualism
Capital punishment (or the death penalty) is one area where values of collectivism and individualism collide.

An individual that believes in
would believe that:
- The needs of many outweigh the needs of the few. The general public's safety is more important than a dangerous criminal's right to life.
- By violating the rights of another person, a murderer forfeits his or her own rights.
- Capital punishment may discourage others from committing murder .

An individual that favors
might argue that:
- Human life is sacred. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees every individual's right to life.
- Individuals can change and may turn their lives around.
- The courts can make a fatal mistake. In the past, innocent people have been executed for crimes they did not commit.

In 1976 The Canadian government removed the death penalty.
Included in economic collectivism is:
- Government ownership and direction of means of production
- Government control of consumption and distribution
- Group well-being is key
- Equality and Co-operation are favored
- Group needs determine production and consumption

In the Canadian society there is not much economic equality.

There is some "sharing the wealth" demonstrated through government taxation and government funded programs.
Economic Collectivism
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