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16 Examples of Collectivism

 , June 05, 2020
Collectivism is the prioritization of the group over the individual. This is a value, norm or system that views the individual as subordinate to a group such as a state or culture. The following are illustrative examples of collectivism.

Cooperation

At its core, collectivism is cooperation by large groups to solve common problems. This sounds like a good thing and perhaps this is true. However, there are complexities to how collectivism is expressed in the real world that can have negatives.

Rights & Freedoms

Collectivism can be contrasted with individualism that prioritizes rights and freedoms over the needs of the group. In a collectivist system, rights and freedoms come second to the needs of the group.

Solidarity

Solidarity is the capacity of a group to work together to solve common problems. This is a basis for collectivism.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is the degree to which individuals worry what others think. Generally speaking, individualists aren't as concerned with the perceptions of the group where collectivists may intensely care how they are perceived.

Mediocrity

Mediocrity is an uninspiring state where an individual seeks only comfort, safety, security, sustenance and entertainment. The mediocre cling to the safety of the group and don't care what happens as long as these basic needs are met. They are inherently non-individualistic and seek to stop others from being individualistic. This is possibly driven by a fear of missing out.

Authoritarian Personality

A character trait or behavior where an individual aggressively enforces the rules of an authority in order to establish social dominance over others. These individuals prefer collectivist systems and help to implement them as self-appointed enforcers of rules.

Groupthink

In a collectivist environment, criticisms of the group may be viewed as attacking the group or as an expression of individualistic selfishness. For example, the notion that criticising a government is unpatriotic. This allows fully irrational strategies and decisions to be adopted by the group without challenge.

Conformity

Individualists aim to be special and collectivists aim to be normal. As such, the collectivists seek to conform to the expectations of the group.

Harmony

A prioritization of group harmony whereby creative tension is suppressed in favor of a feel-good environment where nobody disagrees.

Collective Narcissism

In a collectivist environment, individuals strong identify with the group and are proud of its accomplishments. In some cases, this becomes excessive such that individuals can't see the faults of the group or inaccurately imagine the group is far superior to other groups. Collective narcissism can result in failures as the group continually overestimates itself.

Norms

Norms are unspoken rules and expectations of culture that are enforced with social processes. For example, the norm that its rude to sneeze on someone. Norms respect the intelligence of the individual by not making rules formal and enforceable by the government. Collectivist societies tend to have a lot of norms to fill in the gap wherever the government isn't regulating things. Individualism may also use norms as a way of getting along without need of government involvement in every aspect of life.

Taxes & Regulations

In a collectivism system, individuals sacrifice for the group such that taxes are high and business regulations are intensive.

Social Safety Net

Collectivist societies may offer services that are critical to quality of life such as education, healthcare and housing to all members of the group for no cost. Alternatively, these services may have a cost but members of the group may be effectively guaranteed a job to pay for these things.

Paternalism

Paternalism is a culture or system where the leaders of a group view members of the group much like children who can't make their own decisions and need protection from themselves. Paternalism calls for rules to govern every aspect of life.

Criminalization

Criminalization is the process by which a human behavior becomes illegal. In some cases, a paternalistic society criminalizes a number of common behaviors such that a high percentage of people are technically or officially criminals.

Communism

Communism is an extreme form of collectivism whereby the government takes over control of all capital such that it completely controls the economy. Historically, this has been disastrously inefficient as compared to a decentralized model of competition and markets. Entrepreneurs tend to be better at creating value than a bureaucratic elite due to issues of entitlement, mediocrity and groupthink.

Notes

In practice, all societies demonstrate some degree of collectivism and some degree of individualism. How strongly each of these is expressed is a defining characteristic of each society.
Overview: Collectivism
Type
Definition
The prioritization of the group over the individual.
Definition
The subjugation of individuals by a group.
Applies To
Values
Behaviors
Systems
Related Concepts

Collectivism

This is the complete list of articles we have written about collectivism.
Collective Behavior
Collectivism
Communism
Competition
Conformity
Group Harmony
Groupthink
Herd Mentality
Individualism
Markets
Mediocrity
Norms
Paternalism
Quality Of Life
Rights
Social Cohesion
Social Contract
Society Theory
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