Talk:Collectivism/Archive 3

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Loaded term

As far as I can tell, collectivism is nothing but a pejorative term used by followers of Rand's objectionablism "Objectivism". Accordingly, the article should be reduced to a statement of that fact or removed altogether. This is no place for proselytising on behalf of Objectivism, which is all that this article does. Shorne 16:29, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The list of references makes it obvious that the term "collectivism" was in use long before the creation of Rand's "objectivism". Criticism of collectivism also predates Rand.


In response to Sam's request for help:

The reference section in this article, I am sorry to say, is absolutely pitiful. No personal offence to anyone, but I, for one, would be embarassed to submit a writing about issues of this magnitude with only an Encyclopedia (a Catholic one: Catholicism, also collectivism?) and the Dictionary attached!

There are so many unsubstantiated claims in this article, I don't even know where to begin. A central question to start with is whether persons (often generic) the article mentions as collectivists actually title themsleves as such. The article needs to -show- that it is well-reserached precisely due to the over-lapping, loaded nature of the term. So it is strange that the latter is qualified on several occasions, but then the article proceeds to making various unsubtantiated claims. One risk this article faces is with collectivism being used to encompass virtually any ideology that is not pronouncedly individualist and perhaps even explicitly 'anti-collectivist' — that is, as synonymous to cooperation (versus competition), social (versus individual), private (versus public), etc. It quickly becomes very muddled (i.e. autocracy or meritiocracy, for example). This article desprately needs to explain -whom- today uses the term and how it is viewed, especially by those alleged as being collectivists. Do they see themsleves as such? Irrespectively, how do 'they' approach the term? What about their critics? Et cetera, etc. These are question that need to be better addressed, and this means a substantive well-reserach and well-referenced exposition. El_C

Well said. I've investigated a lot of ideologies in my day, but I've never once come across any unified "collectivism" or heard anyone say "I'm a collectivist". As described here, with a heap of very discordant ideologies and quasi-ideologies all lumped in together under one label, "collectivism" is a golden wastebasket for everything but variations on libertarianism. The article becomes a bully pulpit for libertarians. Unless someone can defend it and promptly improve it, I will call for its removal. Shorne 04:01, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I have to find myself in total agreement with you. I just wrote a little piece for the article on oligarchy here on Wikipedia. I was prompted by a post on an offsite forum regarding some Orwellian type of philosophies. In a certain post a young man described himself as an ardent oligarchical collectivist without even realizing how positively the term would not apply to him even in a literal sense stemming from a fictional work. If an oligarchy existed that could oppress as much as he believes then the chance of him being a ruling member would be so small it's not even worth discussion. Collectivism encompasses such a broad spectrum of ideological political dogma that I'm not completely sure it can be written about so concisely, not to mention the fact that I don't believe it truly exists as some people think it does. The stifling of individual thought, suppression of survival instinct in some circles, etc. Sorry if you find this doesn't relate too much to this article but I'm just sounding off about recent fallacies I've been exposed to. J. Tindall

Exactly. It is always difficult to tell serious editors that much of their writings is untenable, but at this point, this is the position I am leaning towards. The ideological juxtapositions this article makes are a product of treating the term collectivism as an epistemological category rather than a concept grounded in social, historical, cultural, etc. reality. Such juxtapositions cannot be the result of primary resreach, a prerequisite for these must be a scholarly account of, to start with, who employs the term: in politics, in academia and the social sciences, in literature and the arts, etc. Using an 'is not accepted by all' with respect to Corportism, Marxism, Meritocracy, etc. should most certainly not serve as a reason for not telling the reader who, for example, termed Meritocracy as collectivist, etc., and why. Names must be named, works must be cited. If not, then the etymological, philological, etc. uses of the term will have to do. Sorry. El_C

Ayn Rand uses the term "collectivism" a lot, therefore I think it should be deleted from Wikipedia and erased from human thought. Anything that reminds me or anyone else of Ayn Rand should be censored. She is a dangerous philosopher who promotes radical ideas. We can't have this. She makes me angry, because it challenges the everything i thought was good and true. Just as Socrates was executed for for challenging dogma, Rand should be attacked at every opportunity and ultimately censored. Maybe a hundred years from now, we can relax. But it is the job of every generation to attack and villify new philosophers that make waves. Philosophers shouldn't make waves. And the fact that she commercializes her philosophy drives me up the wall. Philosophy should be kept in academia and only accessible by pipe-smoking professor types, not exposed to the masses through bad fiction. Now her dangerous ideas are infiltrating society. She's just plain evil, and since she identifies "collectivism", it's probably not a good concept for humanity to be cognizant of. Please remove the article! (RJII)
I agree with the charge that this article is dripping with POV and inaccuracy: Anarchists and libertarian socialists, for example, are "individualists" in the sense that they believe in the absolute sovereignty of the individual, but "collectivists" in the sense that they believe a free society must abolish private property in favor of collective ownership of property and that the best form of organization for free individuals would be communes.
This was written by someone who either has an ideological ax to grind and no scruples, or is deeply ignorant. The only objection to 'private property' socialistic libertarians have is to the idea that the ownership of wealth-producing property can legitimately be concentrated in fewer hands than those who are working to produce that wealth. In other words, we believe that ownership of the means of production must be fully distributed among all the workers involved, not concentrated in the hands of a few who exploit the rest. Katzenjammer 3 July 2005 16:12 (UTC)

Yossarian returns to this awful Catch-22...for a second

In responce to Mihnea's request for help:

Hmm...seems commie-ism tisn't the only page affected by this endless mind fuck. Okay, so what do we have here...? (First off, you guys need to sit back and talk about what gets included at all. That's just in general.)

Well, the first problem is that the opening paragraph tells me barely anything about what the article treads on. One can't define something by what it opposes. It seems too general as well. Something a tad more specific is needed.

Okay, moving on, we have Usage. Is it a perjorative term all the time? Is that only a western thing, or is it considered good among eastern Europeans? To socialists? To communists? Who really uses this term anymore?

Supporters and Detractors needs more. WAY more. We are given Chomsky and Rand, but this tells us nothing unless we know who they are. You CAN talk about them, you just need to define whom a detractor might be, and whom a supporter might be. Anarchist is too general. It's good to mention the other ideologies and kinds of supporters, but there's little good information here.


Okay, with Politics, we're getting to the meat of it. Fascism is the first example...and yet up to this point we've been led to believe that this a purely leftist doctrine. Why wasn't this mentioned before? And, barring that, why have we been concerntrating on anarchists if this is true? Fascism needs a better definition as well: are we talking about Mussolini? Hitler? Pinochet? Franco? Give more direct examples.

Other wise pretty good. The last paragraph is okay, but it seems a little loaded. It could be put in a far more NPOV manner.

Economics: Pretty good. Needs a little expansion but otherwise fine.

Practice: And here, I assume, is where the problem is. This needs a hell of a lot more. Basically all there are are examples, which tells us little. One little place in Denmark does not collectivism make. You need to talk about Soviet collectivism a lot more...but don't even MENTION Stalin except as a reference. Maybe a little more, but leave the deaths thing alone. He killed people. He's a monster. He's an awful human being. HE'S NOT THE GOD OF COLLECTIVISM. HIS BRAND JUST HAPPENED TO KILL LOTS OF PEOPLE (I would argue that alone makes it not collectivism, but I'm not debating here...but I'm not treying to undermine the magnitude of Stalin's murders. I'm just making a point 'bout neutrality.)! Anywho, get over it. You can say it lead to deaths, but don't politicize it...He's too much of a bastard not to provoke something, you see.

Anti-collectivism: First sentence is AWFUL. Lots of interesting stuff but it seems to be a bit helter skelter with what the direction is supposed to be. It needs to be more concise. It needs to have a fairly smooth transition quality.

My verdict: forget about arguing about the politics of it, whether it works or not, whether Stalin killed every person in Russia and Europe with it, and learn to write. Certain sections are so woefully lacking, it's laughable. Others are so jumpy, it's embarassing. And some...blech. The article is entirely uninformative. You need to put all the politcs aside, and just start over. Don't talk about the deaths until you feel it warrants it. Or, make a page abot the results of Stalin's "collectivism". And what about Pol Pot? didn't he pull that crap and try to call it collectivism?

I categorically refuse to become involved in terms of philosphical debate. It's too moronic (on both sides).

And linking to the Catholic Encyclopedia? It's so dreadfully NPOV I almost threw up. Consider their articles on communism and socialism. COME ON. Find a better link.

But hey, happy Halloween.

PS: Shorne: just read your above statement. I entirely disagree. "Collectivism" was used before Rand, and I know it's used positively in some circles (even if it may or may not have begun negatively). [Was used positively in the First International shortly after the Anarchists were expelled El_C ] It's the term that we use to describe "this stuff" (whatever that is...which is one of the biggest problems with this article). It needs a place in the encyclopedia.

I'm sure I could find some citations if I bothered to pull out the Oxford English Dictionary. So what? A few old usages of the word, including that of the First International, are unlikely to have much to do with this usage as a general label for all those benighted people who haven't yet fallen in love with Ayn Rand (God bless her satin panties) and gone off to form a libertarian utopia. If there's a meaninngful and useful political definition of this term, I'm willing to hear it. I'm even willing to review an article that attempts to cover the subject in a decent way. This one, as you pointed out, is abominable. Shorne 04:30, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

PPS: You know what you guys should try? Conservatives (American Libertarians, whatever) think like leftists. Think like dirty pinko commies. It gives one more perspective. Liberals (Social Democrats, socialists, communists, whatever) think like rightests. Think like dirty poor people bashing tories. It gives one more perspective. It also lets you guys see the other side of the argument. User:Yossarian (sig added by Sam [Spade] 01:43, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC))

I often do just that, even to the point of trying to figure out what my position or course of action would be on an issue if I held a different set of priorities or assumptions. Much of the time it isn't hard to answer that question if, as is necessary, one assumes logical consistency. Shorne 04:30, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Devil advocacy (almost perfect timing for that pun) aside, we cannot speak about politics, theory, supporters-detractors, etc., with the question of who really uses this term anymore? being left unanswered. So, for that reason alone, I disagree with the remainder of Yossarian's approach. It seems too hasty at this point to be building the roof without knowing where the foundation is layed, if at all. El_C

I sort of realize that now...but I think most of my points are valid once the definition of the article is defined. I think the problem is that this is getting a bit too intellectual...not that that's bad, but here's my point: think about who reads this article (other than hard core wikipedians). What does the basic highschool/college student/casual observer think of when someone says "collectivism". You don't want to confuse the readership. The article as it is is far too rambling to be any use. And the theory section (which is one of the most important for anyone reading up on this) is disgraceful. Theory: could it be there needs to be a distinction of two articles: one concerning collectivism as a theory of society (Marx?), and one as a practice (communist collectivism, Lenin, Stalin, etc.) Anyway, my point is, one needs to think of what the GENERAL definition of this is. Otherwise, it becomes confusing and misleads a lot of people.
-- Yossarian 10:04, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC) (Remembered my sig this time! Thanks to Sam for before.)
I sort of realize that now...but I think most of my points are valid once the definition of the article is defined.

I'm pleased to learn you do. Many of your points could become valid, yes, when and/or if these defintions are established. I am of the opinion though that many could not be defined as some here intend since they likely will be proven to be incorrect defintions for the term (but I am, of course, far from infallible, we'll see).

I think the problem is that this is getting a bit too intellectual

I think it is more precise to say too abstract, methodologically inconsistent, and disjointed. This article, though, is very much in need of intellectual clarity, which I think -is- actually what you meant.

[T]hink about who reads this article (other than hard core wikipedians). What does the basic highschool/college student/casual observer think of when someone says "collectivism". You don't want to confuse the readership..

Absolutely true. At the same time, one has to be intellectually honest with the reader — this is esepcailly pressing with respects to the uses of the term throughout history, and just as significantly, to what extent (and when). And, obviously, contemporization (in various areas, as one can clearly see from the more recently published non-historical works I cited) must be firmly established.

The article as it is is far too rambling to be any use. And the theory section (which is one of the most important for anyone reading up on this) is disgraceful.

Indeed. As for the theory, as Shorne mentioned (and I tend to agree), nothing unified of the sort (has been proven to) exist today — at least not in any appreciable sense that I know of (again, for this divergence, see sources I cited).

Theory: could it be there needs to be a distinction of two articles: one concerning collectivism as a theory of society (Marx?), and one as a practice (communist collectivism, Lenin, Stalin, etc.) Anyway, my point is, one needs to think of what the GENERAL definition of this is. Otherwise, it becomes confusing and misleads a lot of people.

Again, I think you are being to hasty to jump the gun here. If the use of the term was as 'limited' as I suspect it was amongst Marxist(-Leninists), then it would be inappropriate to go on at length (seemingly, invariably in 'primary' writing style) as to these. More pertinent articles already exist. We avoid catch-22s by qualifying their carch-22 characteristics — likewise, in the case that this aforementioned 'limitation' proves true, we avoid confusion precisely through an explanation of this 'limitation.' As stated, central to this is a self-proclaimed affiliation with the term (or lack thereof, or irrespectively, its relevancy/prevelance), and how. El_C

By "intellectual" I meant the discourse on the talk page is getting a bit too bogged down in over zealous "intellectual" debate (or at least "debate". Sometimes it's not very intellectual...if you know what I mean). I should have been clear about that. But you're right too: the article is way too abstract. I was going to say that (in different words, though abstract is much better), but it seemed wrong at the time. Now it seems far more appropriate to me for some reason...
The problem is, I don't know a heck of a lot about collectivism (whatever we define it is). My grievence with the article is the lack of readablity, and the lack of any useful information (whatever the definition there's very little that's of any use either way). My original critique was based on that (I was thinking more like an English teacher looking for a coherent content). It had not occured to me this was badly defined on the article because in reality nobody really had a definition for it. So the problem is, one can't even begin to make it readable without that defining point. (My secret fear is that this is just going to become another screaming match about how many people communists have killed over the years.) Yossarian

The problem is, I don't know a heck of a lot about collectivism (whatever we define it is). My grievence with the article is the lack of readablity ... I was thinking more like an English teacher looking for a coherent content.

Fair enough, that's pivotal for the article, too. I, however, was thinking more like an historian and a social theorist — to reiterate my main point on this front though, the latter always needs to preced the former (we can always copyedit grammar and logical coherence, even expand on substance, but in order to do all encyclopedicly, this this substance needs to exist, to be made explicable a priori; meaning, needs to be appreciable enough as per the given use/emphasis accorded ). El_C

References help: in chronological order

  • Tocqueville, Alexis de. (tr. by Henry Reeve, esq.) Democracy in America. (J & H.G. Langley, 1841, c1835). — first instance the term was used, in tr. from French.
  • Courteous, Alphonse. Theoretical anarchism & practical collectivism. (Paris, 1885).
  • Boilley, Paul. Three socialisms: Anarchism, collectivism, reformism. (Paris 1895).
  • Eichthal, Eugene D. Socialism, Communism and collectivism. (Paris, 1901).
  • Vandervelde, Emile. (tr. by R. P. Farley). Collectivism and industrial evolution (Independent Labour Party, 1907).
  • Fountain, Julien Abbot. The ideas collectivists in France. (Belgian Co. of Bookshops, Brussels, 1908).
  • Leroy-Beaulieu, Paul. (tr. and abridged by Sir Arthur Clay) Collectivism: A study of some of the leading social questions of the day (E. P. Dutton, NY, 1908).
  • Dufeuille, Eugene. On the slope of collectivism (Calmann-Lévy, Paris, 1909).
  • Smith, James Haldane. Collectivist economics (Routledge & sons ltd., London, 1925).
  • Chamberlin, William Henry. Collectivism, a false Utopia (Macmillan, NY, 1938).

  • Root, Edward Merrill. Collectivism on the campus: The battle for the mind in American colleges (Devin-Adair Co., NY, 1955).
  • Hayek, Friedrich A. von (ed.) Collectivist economic plannin: Critical studies on the possibilities of socialism (Routledge & sons, ltd., 1956).
  • Beer, Samuel Hutchison. British politics in the collectivist age. (Knopf, NY, 1965).

  • Fforde, Matthew. Conservatism and collectivism, 1886-1914 (Edinburgh University Press, 1990).
  • Kideckel, David A. The solitude of collectivism: Romanian villagers to the revolution and beyond (Cornell University Press, 1993).
  • Pyne, Kathryn Addelson. Moral passages: toward a collectivist moral theory (Routledge, NY, 1994).
  • Uichol, Kim, et al. (eds.) Individualism and collectivism: [psychological] theory, method, and applications (Sage Publications, for the Korean Psychological Association, 1994).
  • Haberkern, Ernest E. and Lipow, Arthur (eds.). Neither capitalism nor socialism: Theories of bureaucratic collectivism (Humanities Press, 1996).
  • Thompson, Janna. Discourse and knowledge: A defence of a collectivist ethics (Routledge, NY, 1998).
  • Tarbox, Gwen Athene. The clubwomen's daughters: Collectivist impulses in Progressive-era girl's fiction, 1890-1940 (Garland Pub., NY, 2000).
  • Best, Gary Dean. The retreat from liberalism: Collectivists versus progressives in the New Deal years (Praeger, Westport, Conn., 2002).

I still firmly believe that the present article is largely untenable. Please do not merely cite (copy & paste) these sources unless the article undergoes the (dramatic) changes recommended by myself and Shorne (a request only). El_C

Page erros

I don't know what happened, but we had a few talk page errors. Please be careful, and clean up any duplication. Thanx. Sam [Spade] 14:47, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Must have been me, the revision history indicates it was me. Likely I accidentally copy & pasted superfleously. Sorry about that. At any rate, I hope that the list of references will prove useful for our purposes here. El_C
Unfortunately they are books, not web links, and I'm busy reading More guns, less crime and The Dark Tower (2004 novel) at the moment ;) [[User:Sam Spade|Thomas Jefferson for President]] 20:19, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Try following the pattern of the titles thoughout the three historical eras I highlighted, Sam. I believe you will find it quite revealing.

When I visited a good friend of mine in VA for a week during the spring (a friend, who, btw, holds a strong affinity to the various firearms he owns – we had a good time at the firing range!), he gave me that book to read. I confess to not having finished it. The book seems to sway between the anectodal and sensetional melodramatics on the one hand, and the tedius on the other, but it does provide some important insights into the policies. At the same time, much of the data and analyses of which appears to be highly distorted, possibly even intellectually dishonest — I have read several articles which I thought demonstrated this quite convincingly (though it is somewhat of an unfair statement on my part as I have yet to finish reading the book). All that said, I am actually very much in favour of having a firearm in every American household. Try to guess why, I believe you will be pleasently unsurprised! (well, maybe not so much pleasently :p ). El_C

Probably for the same reason the great revoloutionary Thomas Jefferson desired the 2nd amendment... to ensure our ability to rebel? Sam [Spade] 00:26, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Substance supercedes form?

I'd prefer to see them in harmony :) What I have learned most from this article and talk page is that Collectivism is poorly defined. Maybe we should just put it on VfD ;) Sam [Spade] 16:46, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes, harmony, we're all for that, I'm sure! But first, the foundation, then the painting, roofing, cat-door, etc. :) I think an article on Collectivism should exist, but certainly not in its current form. If you submitt a VfD, I will fully support you in this — even once deleted, it isn't 'really' deleted, we can always turn to whatever grains of truth exist in the original for use in a forthcoming rewrite. El_C

Well, I don't actually intend to do that, more a bit of humor at all the stress over such an ill defined topic :) Sam [Spade] 00:24, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Here here. --Yossarian 00:27, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)

For the record, here's the version I was defending

Now that you've all seen and discussed Sam's version of this article, please see the version that I am trying to defend: [1]

You will find that it answers many of your concerns, and, though it is not perfect, it is at least better than the alternative. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 11:01, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The introduction exhibits great promise, but much of the rest is highly problematic. I hope that I get a chance to provide you with a more extensive response soon.

Best regards,


My take on this entry

Hello, I would just like to add my own thoughts here.

First, I thought this article was a good one on Collectivism, even if somewhat short and not very in-depth. I did not think it was a plug for Ayn Rand's philosophy. I think the article was simply reporting the fact that one often finds this term used often by Rand, her followers and others who subscribe to right-libertarian political philosophies to describe the philosophies they are opposed to. The term “collectivism” is a common term used in political science and sociology and is to be found in various dictionaries or encyclopedia on political science and political philosophy.

Second, there was, and I think there still is, a group of left-anarchists who called themselves Collectivists, a term that was used by anarchist thinkers Mikhail Bakunin and James Guillaume. This was a good term to describe their preferred economic system of ownership of the means of production by collectives of workers associations. This system was contrasted to Marx's idea of collectivising production by concentrating it all in the hands of a proletarian state. There are Anarcho-Collectivists, along with their close relatives Anarcho-Communists and Anarcho-Syndicalists, who have claimed that while their system advocates economic collectivism, it promotes individualism as regards social relations. Some like Peter Kropotkin, one of the foremost Anarcho-Communist thinkers, have even argued that a system like anarchist communism offers advantages that best sustains individuality. Critics of these positions have argued that economic collectivisation tends to lead towards social/political collectivisation. These critics, like the Anarcho-Individualists, Anarcho-Mutualists and Anarcho-Capitalists, would argue that social/political individualism is best supported by economic individualism.

Third, the article has only given examples of economic collectivist societies. While the article gives a quote by Mussolini, I thought the article would have been much better had it given racism, Nazism, Fascism, Stalinism, militant nationalism and religious fundamentalism as examples of overtly politically/socially collectivist ideologies and/or societies.

Kubilay Ertuna

You deleted some stuff out of the intro believing it was POV. Here is a definition of collectivism from Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary ...

  • 1 a : a politico-economic system characterized by collective control especially over production and distribution of goods and services in contrast to free enterprise <forces that have led to individualism have in the last fifty years been successfully opposed by the forces of collectivism -- M.R.Cohen> b : extreme control of the economic, political, and social life of its subjects by an authoritarian state (as under communism or fascism) c : a doctrine or system that makes the group or the state actively responsible for the social and economic welfare of its members
  • 2 : a social theory or doctrine that emphasizes the importance of the collective (as the society or state) in contrast to the individual and that tends to analyze society in terms of collective behavior -- see HOLISM
  • 3 : 2COLLECTIVE 2, 3

And this is from Encyclopedia Britannica...

  • any of several types of social organization in which the individual is seen as being subordinate to a social collectivity such as a state, a nation, a race, or a social class. Collectivism may be contrasted with individualism (q.v.), in which the rights and interests of the individual are emphasized.

It doesn't look to me like it was POV but goes along with this understanding. RJII 14:08, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

== True Collectivism

Do any of you really know what true collectivism is? == == ==


time to fix this article

This article is pretty bad. Let's fix it, by replacing it with sourceable material. Right now it looks like editors are just making up stuff off the top of their heads. I'm putting in a new intro. My sources for this are the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary and Encyclopedia Britannica. RJII 05:09, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster: "1 a : a politico-economic system characterized by collective control especially over production and distribution of goods and services in contrast to free enterprise <forces that have led to individualism have in the last fifty years been successfully opposed by the forces of collectivism -- M.R.Cohen> b : extreme control of the economic, political, and social life of its subjects by an authoritarian state (as under communism or fascism) c : a doctrine or system that makes the group or the state actively responsible for the social and economic welfare of its members 2 : a social theory or doctrine that emphasizes the importance of the collective (as the society or state) in contrast to the individual and that tends to analyze society in terms of collective behavior -- see HOLISM"

Encyclopedia Britannica: "any of several types of social organization in which the individual is seen as being subordinate to a social collectivity such as a state, a nation, a race, or a social class. Collectivism may be contrasted with individualism (q.v.), in which the rights and interests of the individual are emphasized."

I plan on deleting the following unless sources are provided:

  • Some political collectivists hold that different groups have competing interests, and that the individual's interests and characteristics are in fact tied up with the interests and characteristics of his or her group. In this line of thought, differences between groups are considered more significant than differences between individuals within groups."
  • "Other political collectivists emphasize the notions of equality and solidarity, and see all human beings as part of the same group, with common interests. They maintain that competition and rivalry between individuals or smaller groups is overall counter-productive or detrimental, and should therefore be replaced with some form of cooperation."
  • "There are also collectivists who combine the two views presented above, arguing, for example, that the present-day situation is the one presented in the first view (there are several competing groups), but that we should strive to reach the situation presented in the second view (one large cooperating group)."

RJII 02:45, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Utilitarian collectivists argue that the individual should be subordinate to a collectivity for his own good. Rousseau's social contract, which you cited, is an example of this view. Definition c. from Merriam-Webster, which you cited, also explains this view. Since a collective is made up of individuals, the good of the collective must logically imply the good of at least some individuals. -- Nikodemos (f.k.a. Mihnea) 16:15, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean implies the good of some individuals? What do you mean by "the good." Do you mean maximization of well-being --the best interest? If so, there is no logical necessity that collectivism is in the the best interest of any of the individuals in a collectivist situation. And, of course, that wouldn't be a concern of the collectivist but the individualist. RJII 01:57, 17 January 2006 (UTC)


I'm mostly looking at this article from the standpoint of issues regarding anarchism. I'm really not comfortable with how this term is being defined, particularly in comparison to individualism. This page suggests that collectivism is almost in direct opposition to individualism, even aggressive against individual freedom. I don't think many or any so-called collectivist anarchists oppose the liberty of the individual. Mikhail Bakunin, (who, according to anarchism, espoused collectivism) once said that "Where the state begins, individual liberty ceases, and vice versa." L. Susan Brown argues that all anarchists are individualist, but divides individualism between instrumental individualism and existential individualism. The difference, she argues, is only that instrumental individualists believe in the freedom of people to accomplish things and compete (ala liberalism), whereas existential individualists sees that freedom as an end in itself (ala anarchist communism). My point being that this page needs to note collectivism's relation to individualism, because it remains unclear (although is certainly not always as hostile as this article seems to suggest). Sarge Baldy 20:54, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, the definition is sourced. If you've got any other sourced definitions feel free to cite them here. Note that "Collectivism" was the proper name of the Bakuninite philosophy. That's different than calling it a collectivist philosophy, which I agree that it isn't entirely so. It had collectivist and individualist elements. RJII 03:40, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Right, I think that's what confuses me. Perhaps the Collectivism of Bakunin needs an article of its own? How it's discussed here it's to an extreme that just isn't consistent with how it was used by so-called collectivist anarchists, who clearly placed importance on the concept of individual liberty (if defining that liberty in a very different way than liberal anarchists). Sarge Baldy 03:55, 25 January 2006 (UTC)


Seeing that a number of people have had problems with the EB definition, I don't know why we'd use it, just because it's "sourced". It doesn't say anything this academic source doesn't say, except it says it in a very negative way. Where the source I'm using says that collectivists put group goals over individual goals, the EB source puts it as collectivism "subordinating" individuals. They mean the same thing, it's just one isn't loaded. We don't define individualism as a philosophy whereby individuals "subordinate" the larger group, because that would be completely biased. Instead, you'd say it's a philosophy where individual goals are placed above group goals. The EB article essentially seems to be describing vertical collectivism while utterly neglecting horizontal. Sarge Baldy 19:37, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

By WP:NPOV all significant views that are backed up by reliable soureces should be presented. EB is probably one of the best and most reputable sources. By deleting EB definition you are clearly violating NPOV. -- Vision Thing -- 19:48, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Not quite. Encyclopedic sources are considered a bit iffy in general, and rarely used on Wikipedia. Some users have even questioned whether we should use them at all. Anyway, EB probably isn't openly attempting to express a viewpoint, it's attempting to act as a tertiary source. Violating NPOV means expressing a viewpoint that most people can't agree with. The EB definition has been changed by a number of users, so it clearly isn't "NPOV". The point of NPOV is to work together to find a common solution. Sarge Baldy 20:09, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
NPOV is official policy and what some individuals think is not relevant. Anyway, I don’t know why you think that most people have a positive view on collectivism and definition you added as replacement clearly has a positive bias towards collectivism. -- Vision Thing -- 11:37, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
How does it have a positive bias? That definition is (or was) an almost exact mirror of the defnition of individualism used in the individualism article. Surely if collectivism is the opposite of individualism, then it is perfectly NPOV for the definition of collectivism to be the opposite of the definition of individualism. -- Nikodemos 14:02, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
If it was a mirror image it would include: "Collectivism advocates the exercise of authority over the will of the individual by the political state or society." -- Vision Thing -- 08:46, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

What is this supposed to mean: "Collectivists oppose individualism and its focus on individual autonomy and will, arguing that it is impossible to free oneself from the influence of society without becoming a hermit"???? Individualists do NOT want to free themselves from the influence of society. They simply want to be free from being the victims of force used against them by others in society. They simply want to be treated as ends in themselves (to use Kant's words) instead of as mere means to the ends of others to be forced around by society. In other words they simply want to interact with others in society on a peaceful voluntary basis. To claim that they want to be free from the "influence" of society is preposterous. That is not what individualism is about. It has nothing to do with being a "hermit". Individualists WANT to interact with others in a society. It's about the METHOD of interaction, either peaceful or by force.

You will not find anyone actually saying that they want individuals to interact" in society by force. And "use of force" is an extremely fuzzy concept in itself - seeing how it most often refers to threats than actual force, etc.
In any case, the point is that individualists see people as separate, independent moral agents that are (or should be) free to make their own choices, whereas collectivists see people as products of society, whose choices and actions are always determined by others to a greater or lesser degree. Simply put, the collectivist view is that you want to do things because society tells you to do those things. -- Nikodemos 01:57, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
So a sheep then. If you want to do what society tells you to do then it means you're a sheep. Instead of thinking for yourself you wait for "society" to order you around. Ok, I'll accept that that's a kind of collectivism. There are also the collectivists that will make the individual do what they wish whether the individual wants to or not. It is an ugly ugly philosophy any way you put it. But my point stands about individualism. It has nothing to do with wanting to live in isolation or away from society.
There is a subtle but important difference between the view that people should be sheep and the view that people are sheep in spite of all their efforts to the contrary. I would also like to point out that your use of "sheep" terminology is little more than an appeal to emotion. -- Nikodemos 18:38, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I did not write the comment about sheep to which you're replying here. I wrote the paragraph just below, about the phrase "use of force," but as some research in the history page would show you, another anonymous user wrote the above sheep analogy. Please don't attach my sig to stuff I didn't write. --Christofurio 23:26, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
'use of force' may be fuzzy in some contexts, but not for the reason you give. Should there not be a single concept that incorporates both firing the gun and plausibly threatening to fire the gun? Have you ever been mugged? I have. The event included both the use of force and the threat of escalating its use if I didn't hand over my wallet and watch. I don't see why it's especially "fuzzy" to see those two aspects of the event as essentially one. --Christofurio 21:02, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

A Definition

Avner Greif, a very prominent figure in economics, economic history, and game theory these days, uses the term "collectivism" to mean a set of cultural beliefs that "support an economic self-enforcing collective punishment, horizontal agency relations, segregation, and an ingroup social communications network." See his contribution to an anthology, "The Frontiers of the New Institutional Economics" (1997) for the context. I don't know how that source intersects with the partisan splits I see on this talk page. Orthogonally, I'd hope. --Christofurio 02:32, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

It would be useful if more editors found scholarly material on collectivism rather than attempting to rewrite the definition based on a particular political bias. The libertarian view should be mentioned, but as the minority view. More scholarship from mainstream sources would help.--Cberlet 13:48, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't even understand the complaint against the scholarly definition. Britannica isn't a very good source anyway, since most people would agree that Wikipedia isn't much of an encyclopedia when it quotes other encyclopedias in defining something. It's not as if Britannica would ever source, let alone quote Wikipedia in one of their articles. We can't assume any sources are "NPOV". We need to work with what sources we have to find a definition people can agree with. Sarge Baldy 18:49, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree. I was just trying to fix the cite, but would rather see the Sarge Baldy version.--Cberlet 20:54, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
There are no complaints about scholarly definition, if it’s credible (how credible and mainstream are these [2] [3] sources?). -- Vision Thing -- 10:21, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
How are they not credible or not mainstream? Please explain. -- Nikodemos 18:46, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I’m asking for opinion on how credible and mainstream those sources are since I never heard for them. -- Vision Thing -- 09:10, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Nobody is ready to stand up for those sources? -- Vision Thing -- 18:12, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Since nobody is ready to stand up for those sources I'm removing them. -- Vision Thing -- 20:00, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I hope you're kidding. Those sources are peer-reviewed academic journal entries, which are absolutely the best sources to use per Wikipedia policy. If any sources on this page are of questionable use, it's the use of a tertiary source (the Encyclopedia Britannica) as a primary source. Sarge Baldy 01:08, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
However, view that collectivism is "any of several types of social organization in which the individual is seen as being subordinate to a social collectivity such as a state, a nation, a race, or a social class" is a significant view and it’s backed up by credible source. So there is no reason for its exclusion. -- Vision Thing -- 10:21, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Note to -- Vision Thing --. It is considered very bad form to revert a page and then in the subject line to imply that it is the result of a consensus on the discussion page. As you are well aware, there is no such consensus. The claim is false. Please refrain from this sort of aggressive and discourteous editing. The discussion should continue without a revert war. --Cberlet 13:35, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I didn’t make any claim of consensus, for me "per talk" means "for reasons I presented on talk page". Also, I advise you to refrain from public stigmatization and try to keep a cool head. -- Vision Thing -- 09:10, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Present intro excludes mainstream definition and includes following part: "Collectivism is often based on a view of human beings as "social animals", who need the companionship and support of others of their kind in order to survive and thrive. Collectivists oppose individualism and its focus on individual autonomy and will, arguing that it is impossible to free oneself from the influence of society without becoming a hermit. Collectivists believe that society shapes many aspects of an individual's personality, and that individualistic attempts to separate individuals from society and from each other can be psychologically or even physically harmful." which implies that individualist don’t believe that they need other people to survive and thrive, and that they want to separate from society. That’s simply wrong and biased. Because my attempts to make intro neutral are constantly reverted I’m putting POV tag on. -- Vision Thing -- 09:10, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Pejorative, perhaps?

I was wondering if there are any individuals or groups that call themselves "collectivist" in the present day. I have certainly seen legions of self-proclaimed anti-collectivists, but no self-proclaimed collectivists. If the term is used exclusively (or overwhelmingly) by anti-collectivists, we should mark it as a pejorative. -- Nikodemos 18:46, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Here's a link to a "defense of collectivism" --Christofurio 13:22, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I was wondering about the BE reference. Where does it state that being subordinate to a social collectivity such as a state, a nation, a race, or a social class, is inherently pejorative? Intangible 01:55, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
In China, I read here, individualism is a pejorative notion. Who would have thought. Intangible 01:59, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Right-wingers asking if the term collectivism is "perjorative" is a hoot! Gotta love it.--Cberlet 01:59, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
"Right-wingers" are actually pretty gentle there in the US, they even call socialists "liberals" there, or actually, maybe this is some form of sinistrisme on part of the American "left," who knows... Intangible 02:07, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
It is not a pejorative anymore than individualism is a pejorative to collectivists or communists. TheIndividualist 02:04, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I love the smell of surrealism in cyberspace!--Cberlet 02:18, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Other than the article provided above by Christofurio, I have never seen any piece of writing that supports something called "collectivism". It seems that the term "collectivism" is used overwhelmingly by those people who oppose what they see as "collectivism". -- Nikodemos 14:28, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Or by anthropologists who are distinguishing between individualist and collectivist attributes of a culture. But I certainly can't imagine there being any self-identified "collectivists" who would describe their ideal society as one in which people are subordinate to the will of the collective, just like you wouldn't find that many individualists describing their ideal society as one in which society doesn't exist at all and everyone is on their own. Sarge Baldy 18:49, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Collectivism is not very popular since the collapse of communism. To find praises of collectivism you have to go back to the writings and speeches of the old communists. Individualism is not "in which society doesn't exist at all and everyone is on their own." An individualist society is one where individuality is recognized, meaning people have individual rights instead of their freedom being sacrificed for the survival of a collective (such as the state). The United States is a rough example of an individualist society. Individualism does not mean no society or that people don't interact with others. It is not the same thing as isolationism. TheIndividualist 22:22, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
You make my point for me, then. Just as most individualists don't wish to annihilate society, most "collectivists" don't want to annihilate the individual. To say one is true and not the other is hypocritical. The terms mirror one another. The difference between the two philosophies regards priority, not absolutes. Sarge Baldy 14:46, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
This is from the "Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development" releasd on March 5 2001 from the Chinese government: "We need to promote patriotism, collectivism and socialism." [4] TheIndividualist 22:40, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
And yet the article that quotes that line is virulently anti-collectivist. Perhaps the term "collectivism" is not pejorative in Chinese, but it certainly is in English.
In any case, TheIndividualist, since you seem to want to reserve the right to define individualism as you see it, why not give collectivists the same right to define collectivism as they see it? As Sarge Baldy pointed out, there are no self-identified "collectivists" who describe their ideal society as one in which people are subordinate to the will of the collective. -- Nikodemos 13:06, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Being anti-collectivism doesn't make the world "collectivism" a pejorative. It appears you don't know what "pejorative" means. Also it looks like you are not understanding that collectivism does not have one meaning. One of the meanings is a label for a SOCIAL SYSTEM where the individual is subordinate to the collective. That was referenced by a source so you should not deleted it. That is a very common meaning for the term. IndividualistAnarchist 18:48, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
That's only a POV way of saying that the system is one in which the goals of the collective come before the goals of the individual. It's redundant, and biased. We don't define individualism as a social system in which the collective group is subordinate to the individual. For neutrality, the two articles need to mirror one another. Sarge Baldy 19:12, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
In an individualist system, the individualist isn't subordinate to anyone. In a collectivist system, the individual is subordinate to the collective. It's pretty simple. IndividualistAnarchist 19:17, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
That's obviously a very individualist perspective. Think of it this way. (Most) families operate on a collectivist model, with the good of the family coming before the good of specific family members. Now, would you say that this means family members are subordinate to the collective, or would you just say the group prioritizes collective goals over individual? Saying the individual is subordinate is to say they are being repressed. Which is certainly possible, but not always true. "Subordination" assumes hierarchical organization, where many of the world's most egalitarian societies are collectively organized. In these societies the individual and the group are hardly distinguished from one another. There is no "individual" to suppress, so saying the individual is subordinate makes no sense. I think that definition works well for describing vertical collectivism but not at all for horizontal. Sarge Baldy 19:42, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Here is an even stronger source from the Merriam Webster dictionary: "1 b : extreme control of the economic, political, and social life of its subjects by an authoritarian state (as under communism or fascism)" IndividualistAnarchist 19:22, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Right. And that definition works nicely for vertically collectivist societies. But anthropologists use the term collectivism much more broadly, which is where we end up in conflict. Sarge Baldy 19:47, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Which is why it needs to be realized that there is more than one definition and present them instead of deleting definitions that are sourced. TheIndividualist 05:01, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
We can't leave out the definition of a social or political system for "collectivism." IndividualistAnarchist 19:25, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia must do more than just quote from other encyclopedias - or worse, dictionaries. We must also strive to present information in a NPOV manner. "Subordination" is POV - but I'll accept it as long as we make it clear that it's what Britannica says, not the Absolute Truth. -- Nikodemos 19:45, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

By the way, the Merriam-Webster definition of collectivism can be found here, and it does not correspond with the text quoted by IndividualistAnarchist. -- Nikodemos 19:49, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Main Entry: col·lec·tiv·ism
  • Pronunciation: k&-'lek-ti-"vi-z&m
  • Function: noun
  1. a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; also: a system marked by such control
  2. emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity

That is the abridged dictionary. The authoritative dictionary, The Merriam-Webster Third International Dictionary, Unabridged entry is this:

1 a : a politico-economic system characterized by collective control especially over production and distribution of goods and services in contrast to free enterprise <forces that have led to individualism have in the last fifty years been successfully opposed by the forces of collectivism -- M.R.Cohen> b : extreme control of the economic, political, and social life of its subjects by an authoritarian state (as under communism or fascism) c : a doctrine or system that makes the group or the state actively responsible for the social and economic welfare of its members 2 : a social theory or doctrine that emphasizes the importance of the collective (as the society or state) in contrast to the individual and that tends to analyze society in terms of collective behavior -- see HOLISM 3 : 2COLLECTIVE 2, 3

TheIndividualist 00:03, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

<------This is a serious encyclopedia, not an out of date abridged dictionary. Get serious. Cite a serious scholar.--Cberlet 02:30, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

The dictionary is neither out of date nor abridged. Wake up. It's a widely respected authority. TheIndividualist 03:32, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Calling an abridged dictionary a "a widely respected authority" is simpply ridiculous. --Cberlet 03:49, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
It is not an abridged dictionary. It is the Merriam-Webster Third International Dictionary, Unabridged. TheIndividualist 03:58, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
The link originally provided is to the Online version of the dictionary, which is abridged.--Cberlet 04:13, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
That's what I was pointing out. I was providing the unabridged definition here in Talk. TheIndividualist 04:14, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
And you are claiming that the unabridged dictionary entry supports your claims for an encyclopedia entry? Really? On what planet?--Cberlet 04:17, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
I am claiming that the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary defines it as I quoted above. You're funny. First you complain that the entry is from an abridged dictionary then when you find out it is unabridged you don't want the definition in the encyclopedia. I'm sorry but it is fine to put the definition in the encylopedia. TheIndividualist 04:23, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you wish to add that unabridged definition to the intro, TheIndividualist? I would not remove it, of course, but I would ensist that the definition is provided in its entirety, and then I would go look for different definitions in different dictionaries. I think this is a bad idea, because it would turn our introduction into little more than a collection of dictionary definitions (some of which describe the same concept and some of which don't).

I think the intro as it stands now is perfectly acceptable. Do you agree? If yes, we should remove the POV tag. -- Nikodemos 15:51, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Removal of dictionary definitions from the intro...

I removed the dictionary definitions from the introduction. The introduction, after all, is intended to be an overview of the content of the article; in this case, the very first section of the article notes that there is no universally-agreed upon definition of collectivism. Therefore, presenting a dictionary definition in the intro as if it was the commonly-accepted definition of collectivism is inappropriate. Few encyclopedia articles rely on a dictionary definition, and this case, in particular, seems like a poor place to start. I think that, instead, it might make sense to have at least a mention of anti-collectivism in the intro, since the term would seem to be, in the modern world, used most often by groups that define themselves in opposition to it. --Aquillion 08:52, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

vertical collectivism

would vertical collectivism not just be totalitarianism instead of collectivism? sounds so to me, reading this article. or else totalism, too much of those words anyway--Lygophile 07:45, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


The Triandis article explicitly talks about fascism as Vertical Collectivism om page 119 [5]. Intangible 20:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Clearly not vandalism, Intangible. Scholars disagree on this issue. It is proper to present competing viewpoints on this page. No single editor should delete properly cited material simply because they have taken a side in a scholarly dispute. We should make it clear there is a dispute among scholars, and present readers several viewpoints.--Cberlet 21:05, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree. I have listed sources which discuss the Social Darwinist side of Fascist societies several times and he keeps editing them away simply because he does not agree with him. His last reason was simply "sources are bogus" though I can easily verify the sources. This whole thing is his way of getting back at me for lodging a complaint against one of his friends. Full Shunyata 12:11, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but the edits from User:Full Shunyata makee it appear that the Triandis article actually stated that Marxist-Leninist societies are an example of VC societies, which is not the case. From the article: "Finally, those societies that neither value equality nor freedom correspond to VC (e.g. fascism or the communalism of traditional societies with strong leaders) in our conceptualization." No evidence has been provided for another kind of VC typology, so I will revert your changes as well. Intangible 21:17, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Both of you are acting like jerks. Try a compromise rather than a revert war.--Cberlet 21:24, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
A compromise on what?! Page 47 of De Grand's 'Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: the "fascist" style of rule' does not talk about collectivism, social darwinism (the term doesn't even appear in the book) or anything that even remotely suggest a relationship to this article! The only one interjecting POV into this article is User:Full Shunyata, who now has become an "expert analyst" on Hitler's Mein Kampf. Sigh. Intangible 21:38, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Interestingly the same author argues that Fascist socities were vertical individualist in the same book. Whether or not the actual term "Social Darwinism" is used the message is clear when he points out that Fascists wanted to empower "strong individuals" over "weak individuals". Full Shunyata 12:19, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Full Shunyata does need to be a “expert analyst” on Hitler’s Mein Kampf to prove to you that Hitler was individualist, he used tax money or the groups money to pay for the private sector. And if anyone would say that this is wrong, then they would be asking for the individuals (private sector) to give up(there projects) for the group(tax payers). Therefore Hitler is in the right to use tax payer money for private projects, from the individualist point of view.

Articulating Divergent Views

My apologies for not discussing here sooner. There is clearly no consensus on whether or not Fascist societies were individualist or collectivist. Quite honestly they incorporated elements of both but arguably were aimed at empowering powerful individuals. They remained firm in their support of Social Darwinism which is a form of vertical individualism that views collective concern as unreasonable. I simply edited the article to point out a more clear example of vertical collectivism which is Marxist-Leninist societies. Whether or not Fascist societies were collectivist is debatable as many Capitalist societies have strong elements of collectivism as well. No society is purely anything and it doesn't have to be. Full Shunyata 12:09, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

There are other sources than the scholar I quoted. The German militarist, Friederich von Bernhardi, praised the virtues of Darwinian war in strong evolutionary terms in his influential book Germany and the Next War. Bernhardi claimed war was a "biological necessity" and that it "gives a biologically just decision, since its decisions rest on the very nature of things." Bernhardi dismissed the idea of peaceful cooperation as a "presumptuous encroachment on the natural laws of development." and said "war is a universal law of nature." (As quoted by Ashley Montagu in Man in Process, World Pub. Co., 1961, pp. 76-77). If you want, we can edit this article together to include both views. Full Shunyata 12:26, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

So what are the major divergent views that need to be articulated for a reader?--Cberlet 14:59, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
What divergent views? You both have not provided any sources that say fascism is not vertical collectivism. I have provided sources that say it is. So until you come to the talk page with a source, this discussion is closed. All above reading by Full Shunyata are all Original Research. Intangible 20:41, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
"What divergent views? You both have not provided any sources that say fascism is not vertical collectivism." The articles I quoted talked about the Social Darwinist nature of Fascist societies. Social Darwinism is vertical individualism. These are not original reserach because both sources can be verified. Both Man in Process, World Pub. Co., 1961, pp. 76-77 and Alexander J. De Grand, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Routledge, 1995. pp. 47. Mussolini himself spoke of weeding out weak individuals and promoting the strong and the Fascist Minister of Agriculture wished to strengthen private property Source: Carl T. Schmidt, "The corporate state in action; Italy under fascism", Oxford University Press, 1939. pp. 128. You can't claim something is "original research" just because you disagree with it's academic conclusion. Full Shunyata 22:05, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

As far as I am aware, "vertical collectivism" is a term coined by Triandis. Obviously you won't find anyone who contradicts his findings on VC, because no one else uses the term. So you must look at the definition of VC and see if it is consistent with the findings of other researchers on the subject of fascism. In any case, it seems that far too much time and effort has been spent on trying to figure out what societies are or aren't VC, when you should have written a more detailed description of the two kinds of collectivism and left the readers to decide what societies they apply to. -- Nikodemos 03:09, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

I only came to this page after I noted Full Shunyata made OR changes involving Max Stirner at Individualist anarchism. Intangible 14:15, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Nikodemos, I agree. This article is very POV because much of it is written from the POV of individualists who are against collectivism. Now if collectivists edited the individualist article to write it from a collectivist POV, there would be an uproar. In fact, there is not "Anti-Individualism" section for the individualist article. I've been trying to tell Vision Thing that there is more than one type of collectivism and Fascism is obviously debateable on whether or not it is collectivist. However there is no doubt that Marxist-Leninist societies were/are VC, so it makes for a better example. Intangible, your editing and claims of OR is nonsense. There is nothing OC about quotes from Stirner himself. Simply because you disagree with Stirner's view on property is not good reason to erase mentioning his view on property. "I don't agree with this" is not tantamount with OR. You should be aware that I've noted other complaints against your baseless and frivolous selective editing and false crying of OR. Full Shunyata 06:04, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:No original research#Synthesis_of_published_material_serving_to_advance_a_position. Intangible2.0 09:19, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I looked up the talk page on Fascism and saw that subordination to the state/government is considered anti-individualistic. Given this, I understand your point about Fascism being a form "collectivism". My mistake. Full Shunyata 04:35, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
This is also my view. --Childhood's End 20:03, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Look at the Encyclopedia Britannica source in this article. It says why fascism is collectivism. A "state" is considered a collective entity. That's why Mussolini's corporate state was a collectivism. The individual was expected to sacrifice for the collective, for the state. Liberalism (protection of individual liberty) on the other hand and the economic system that naturally arises when people have freedom, capitalism, would not be collectivism, because the state serves an opposite role which is to protect the individual from being required to sacrifice for the state. It's the opposite. Liberalism is individualism. Mussollini said himself: "If the nineteenth century was the century of individualism (Liberalism always signifying individualism) it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism, and hence the century of the State." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Goalch (talkcontribs) 17:02, 8 May 2007 (UTC).

Full Shunyata, can you provide quote from Henry Turner's book which says that there is no consensus agreement that Fascism is a type of collectivism? -- Vision Thing -- 13:32, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

The people Italy are a group and no individualist would disagree with that. So it would be wrong for Mussolini to sacrifice for the people of Italy, but not wrong for the people of Italy to sacrifice for Mussolini, from the individualist point of view as the people of Italy are a group and not an individual. This is the Base of Mussolini system which fits perfectly into individualism. The individualists try to turn the people of Italy into individuals in order to turn themselves into victims by association, even thought they would agree that the people of Italy are a group and not individuals. In fact I would like to know when Mussolini was ever “truly for his state” and just not saying it. If he was truly for his state I don’t think that the people of his state would of killed him the way they did.


There is enough content in this article that is unreferenced to warrent the {{More sources}} tag. I have tagged those sections with {{unreferencedsect}} and {{fact}}.--Sefringle 03:24, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

early socialists

How can it be justified to classify Hegel - in one line with Marx - as early socialist? Pherrmann (talk) 07:56, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Collectivism in psychology

This page discusses collectivism as a social and political philosophy. However, I've also heard it discussed in a psychological context, along with individualism. Specifically, these terms were used in discussion a person's or culture's concept of the self.

I took a university course on social psychology where collectivism and individualism were discussed when we covered a person's concept of the self. From what I recall, a predominantly individualist person would think of himself more in terms of his own attributes ("I am an engineer", "I like pie") while a predominantly collectivist person would think of himself more in terms of his relationships to others ("I am the son of Jason", "I live next door to Mark"). This idea motivated the discussion of the differences between cultures, where many European societies were described as individualist while many Asian societies were described as collectivist psychologically.

Anyone here who'd be able to give an insight on collectivism as it's defined and used in psychology? I'm not sure I'd be able to help much since psychology is not my major and I lost my class notes. :P (talk) 01:35, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

This is the most Point Of View(POV) bias article on Wikipedia

One only has to look to see that this is true. 20% of this article is made up of criticism of collectivism, while the other 80% try to link collectivism to fascism and Racism. Most of this seems to be due by those calling themselves individualist, as the “individualism” article has no criticism section. In fact it is nothing more then why individualism is good and groups that claim to be individualist. The problem is that there is no group that calls itself collectivist out there. You can clearly see this by trying to find one pro-collectivist site out, to even start to balance this article out. You will find none; in fact the only link here to a site called “in defense of collectivism” leads to a dead link. This is the reason why there are no external links, and also why the references section is full of links to not only pro Ayn Rand sits, but also to anti-collectivism sties. In fact all the links are to other Wikipedia pages, and the first link is to “Collective guilt”. The rest are there to link collectivism to fascism and Racism by saying that in these systems the individual must submitted to the state or race. But let’s look at this with a little logic. If being a collectivist means giving up things for the group, and group lines are draw by race, state, or other then by its own terms it can’t be raciest. If a group defines itself in term of race, then people of a different race can’t be asked to sacrifice for it, as they are not part of the same group. We can all agree that collectivism is the opposite of individualism, but the way we have it defined does not show this. We right now define collectivism as the “few sacrificing for the many”, but define individualism as “individual not sacrificing for anyone”, be them individual or groups. If we truly define them as opposite, then individualism would be “the many sacrificing for the few”. The funny thing is that this is the way we have it define, but it is not open. Individualism talks about the state getting out of the way of the individual, which means that the state submitted to the wish of the individual, as long as it does not come into conflict with the wish of other individual. This is the opposite of an individual submitting to the state, but is not clearly written out that way. Logic itself can prove that the very idea of individualism does in fact lead to the “the many sacrificing for the few”. Let’s say that an individual steals money from a state. The state is not an individual, which based on Individualism we can all agree on. So the government has no right to take back the money, as that individual did not steal for other individual, but form a state. Trying to link collectivism to fascism is other clear sign that this article is write to say “that everything bad has happened because of collectivism”. Let’s forget that fascism opposes democratic systems, just like individualist do, or the fact fascism focused on which individual are better than one other. In fact I could just as easily prove that Individualist are fascist. The United States has ruled in the past those corporations are individual, and Corporatism is the economic system of fascism. Therefore Corporatism = individualism as, Corporatism is for corporations and corporations are individual. There no point in trying to clean up this bias article the Individualist will just change it back or go around about way of saying that collectivism is everything wrong with the world, while saying that individualism is everything right. I would like to see someone prove me wrong, but the fact are there. There is no pro- collectivism site, book or sources to reference. I would like it if someone would go over to the “individualism” article and prove to me that there is some criticism of individualism, but I know no one will find any. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:50, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Corporations are not individuals. Corporatism is not individualism. Fascism is a form of collectivism, as it involves collectively following a fascist leader. Individualism involves opposition of fascism.--WTF (talk) 19:38, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Talk archive

Recommend establishing a talk archive operated by a bot for this article. All is One (talk) 23:47, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

 Done --IllaZilla (talk) 00:36, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Problems with this statement and its source: "Left-wing libertarians, such as libertarian socialists and most anarchists, embrace democracy, especially direct democracy and/or participatory democracy specifically because it can be a form of horizontal collectivism."

In the sentence in the title of this section, the assertion that "most" anarchists embrace democracy is completely unsupported and I will change "most" to "some". It can be reverted if someone can provide reliable source, such a peer-reviewed statistical analysis of anarchists around the world, that shows that more than 50% of anarchists "embrace democracy". I conducted a search but could find no such source.

Speaking of reliable sources, the statement in the title of this section is referenced by this webpage: is an "online anarchist library and archive" owned by Spunk Press. The site is promotional in nature; according to the Wikipedia entry on Spunk Library, "was not intended to replace print publishing, but rather served a shop window promoting anarchist book publishers, newspapers and journals." Wikipedia maintains that "the identity of the author may help determine reliability", but the page referenced does not provide the author's name. So this source is unreliable on multiple counts.

The second source for this statement is "Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice". Page 65, which is referenced as the source for this claim, has nothing to do with the statement made; the topic discussed on page 65 is Anarcho-Syndicalist workers of Spain, and democracy or horizontal collectivism is not even mentioned. Nor does it support the "most" anarchist claim I mentioned above.

Based on these factors, I believe the entire sentence should be stricken. The first source is unrelable, and the second source does not support the assertion. I believe this shows POV and bias on the part of the editor who wrote this part. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Relationship between collectivism and corporatism

Is corporatism a form of collectivism?

I reverted another users edit in which they asserted "corporativism definitely isn't a form of collectivism."

I wholeheartedly disagree, there is a clear relationship.

But I thought I should WP:Discuss the matter with other editors here.

--Andrewaskew (talk) 05:33, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

socialists are not necessarily collectivists

collectivists think group > individual. socialists want collective ownership of the means of production because socialization of production makes classical liberalism impossible. so, socialists may also be liberal individualists, and when they are are called anarchists; these ideas of collectivism and socialism are not connected in any meaningful way. i'm going to clean the article up appropriately. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:03, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

i ended up removing the asinine section on the cold war. collectivism is a far better term to use to describe the soviet and nazi systems than socialism, as no workers ever had ownership of the means of production and minority rights were constantly infringed for the purpose of the greater good, which should not happen under socialism. i removed another section that tried to separate between soviet socialism and collectivism, because it likewise made no sense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:16, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

"Right-wing libertarians"

Ayn Rand and Ron Paul are referred to as "right-wing libertarians". I changed this to remove "right-wing" for a basis of neutrality (even though Rand did not categorize herself as a libertarian and was fairly critical of the libertarians), and it was reverted seemingly on the basis of an opinion. Point being, many commentators have said that Rand was not right-wing, citing her being in favor of abortion, and being an atheist, and it seems to me that the ones who consider Rand to be right-wing are usually critical of her. Her exact political views don't exactly fit the description "right-wing", except perhaps economically, if you consider favoring capitalism to be a right-wing position, which I do not. Libertarianism doesn't go hand-in-hand with right-wing politics, either, as libertarianism is usually a mix of being in favor of businessman's rights and social rights. --WTF (talk) 19:36, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree. Unless a reliable source can be found that characterizes both Ayn Rand and Ron Paul as "right-wing libertarians", this is original research and violates Wikipedia's OR and POV policy. I will remove it and it should be reinserted only if it is referenced by reliable sources. Please do not revert without doing so. (talk) 18:49, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
We have an entire article on right-libertarianism, and it does state that propertarian libertarians and anarcho-capitalists like Rand are often described as right-wing by commentators. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:09, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

"Collectivism is discussed extensively by Objectivists." I took this out of the introduction, because it does not really belong there, if someone wants to add objectivist views of collectivism let it be so elsewhere; but simply stating that objectivism discusses it with no citations and no explanation is not informative. From my point of view obectivists elide collectivism and totalitarianism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:37, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Collectivism is not related to Government

  • I put for the suggestion that Collectivism is society working together without a central government. The statement "which in practical terms is the government." should be removed as it does not represent collectivism which is a form of people working together without centralized control. Government is a centralized control mechanism. "a government more narrowly refers to the particular executive in control of a state at a given time" - "A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together to achieve a common objective.[citation needed] Collectives differ from cooperatives in that they are not necessarily focused upon an economic benefit or saving, but can be that as well."

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Trinsic1 (talkcontribs) 12:54, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

USSR and collectivism

How can USSR or the other stalinist states be described as "collectivist" when they were ruled by regimes and crime families unaccountable to and unalterable by the vast majority. These states could be better desrcribed as extreme individualist, sacrificing the rights of all individuals for the privileges of the concentrated few.

Official ideology of the Soviet Union, as expressed for example by Andrey Vyshinsky, preferred rights of abstract and vaguely defined working class over the rights of individual citizens. This is perfect example of a collectivist ideology. Kravietz (talk) 20:09, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

First sentence: interdependence and scope

I'm having a real problem with the tail end of the first sentence in this article: "Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human being." The interdependence of individuals may be a common reason for holding collectivist views, but it is not the best description of what collectivism is. It seems more direct and accurate to retreat to language of the Merriam-Webster definition discussed here previously, roughly: "...that emphasizes the importance of the collective and tends to analyze issues in those terms." I think the "every human being" wording could also be improved. Collectivism has no intrinsic scope; all collectivism is not about a universal collective. This just goes to show that interdependence is a red herring that is leading the description astray.

As well the list of possible outlook types is getting a bit long, accurate though it may be. I would prefer this for an initial sentence: "Collectivism is any system of thought that emphasizes groups—their identities, goals, rights, outcomes, etc.—over individuals."

I wasn't going to just drop in and alter the leading sentence without some notice though, so... hit me. Furball4 (talk) 05:11, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Done. I ended up being influenced significantly by the Individualism page. Furball4 (talk) 11:05, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

The second sentence: " Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism (in the same way high context culture exists as the reverse of low context culture), and in some cases stresses the priority of group goals over individual goals and the importance of cohesion within social groups (such as an ingroup, in whichever specific context it is defined)." is rhetorical nonsense. What is "reverse" other then a vague and useless metaphor? Collectivism contradicts individualism by placing group decisions over individual authority. The essential nature of collectivism vs. individualism is that they are mutually exclusive, for any particular issue. We may have collective use of the earth, but still have individual control of our labors. With two different issues they can both apply, but not for a single issue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:55, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

What is actually non-Collectivist?

All organizations and especially states are necessarily collectivist to some extent. They prefer the existence and interest of the whole organisaton over some rights/interest an individual may have. Even a very liberal state subscribed to individual rights would have to do so. They may feign adherence, but in the end they would engage in "collectivist" action, when their interest/existence is at stake. -- (talk) 17:40, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Dr. Grigoriadis's comment on this article

Dr. Grigoriadis has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:

The analogy proposed by Greif (1994) distinguishes symmetrically between individualist economic systems and developed economies, on the one hand, and collectivist economic systems and developing economies, on the other. It suggests that cultural values matter for economic development and state capacity.

We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

We believe Dr. Grigoriadis has expertise on the topic of this article, since he has published relevant scholarly research:

  • Reference : Grigoriadis, Theocharis, 2013. "Religious origins of democracies and dictatorships," Discussion Papers 2013/16, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

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Collectivism and individualism are not opposites or othogonal

@Rupert loup You write: "Got rid of an oxymoron. You literally cannot mix individualist and collectivist ideologies, that made absolutely no sense. They are opposites by definition, you are either one or the other."

I just want to mention that this is not an accurate understanding of the relationship between collectivism and individualism. You can easily hold both collectivistic and individualistic world views. In fact, every measurement tool of individualism and collectivism reflects this. I would be happy to point you to numerous peer reviewed journal articles that demonstrate that the same people can endorse both collectivistic and individualistic cultural views simultaneously. PsychstudentUCLA (talk) 16:27, 5 December 2017 (UTC)