Achievement, Success and Individualism Expository Essay
According to Henslin, value is defined as code, standards, or worthiness that is considered to be desirable either by an individual or a group of people (2010). Value acts as a guide of life to make one fit in a certain society or to live well with other people. Values are general and conceptual in nature, unlike norms that are very specific. Through values one is able to define his or her moral goals in life. Ones value in life shows the standards by which he or she describes the ideas of what is desired (Henslin, 2010).
America is a pluralistic society as it entails various groups with different political, social, and religious views. This paper will be describing two significant values in American culture that include, achievement and success and individualism. Individualism entails one possessing a trait of being persistence consistently whereby such an individual is considered able to rise from the bottom to top.
The American culture is known to blame a person if he or she fails to get ahead rather than the system that may have blocked him or her. From the past, Americans have believed that victory comes from ones effort and initiative. Personal victory, especially outstanding among the rest, being the best in work and in school, becoming rich, possessing power, and reputation is valued much in America (Henslin, 2010).
The value of being persistence and staying consistent has made me to overcome a lot of obstacles in my life starting from my family life, in school, and in my social life. This value made me to know my purpose in my family, whereby I knew my duties and responsibilities and the importance of fulfilling them.
The value of individualism made me to have a vision in whatever I was about to undertake be it in school or with my friends. This made me to choose wisely my friends, who could help me to realize my vision and purpose in life. The same value as an adult will continue to help me have a good relationship with my colleagues in my working place, as I would be able to overcome my challenges and assist them solve theirs too.
When one is persistence, the idea of giving up is fully eradicated from his or her life (Henslin, 2010). Incase of hardships and solving conflicts, this value pushes one until the solution is found. Anyone who is in a position to solve conflicts on his or her way, and meet challenges accordingly, has a healthy friendship with people in all areas.
Achievement and success is another important value that has taken me through the childhood life to adulthood. In our family, when we were young, this value motivated me to work hard, behave well among my peers that I could be the best among my siblings, and the best pupil in class (Hunter, 2003).
Making efforts to be the best ensures one trends carefully avoiding the common mistakes that may hinder success. In the working situation, one would always work tirelessly, meet the targets on time, meet the company objectives, and serve the clients efficiently to be considered successful. Getting a good grade in school, being a role model among peers, or getting promotion in work would require one to work hard and achieve higher. In general, becoming successful in life would call for this value in day to day activities.
Henslin, J. M. (2010). Essentials of Sociology, A Down-to-Earth Approach. New York: Prentice Hall.
Hunter, W. S. (2003). Psychological abstructs. New York: American Psychological Association.
The ways, limits and opposition to individualism Essay
Renaissance began in the early fourteenth century in Italy. Later the wave swept over North Europe as new teachings that focused on an individual began to emerge. In the twelfth century when St Francis of Assisi began challenging the worship. He established the Franciscans religious group which embraced a way of worship that was more personalized. This was a spark that would later explode to make Italy the heart of renaissance.
This spirit spread to Europe in the mid fifteenth century when Europe began to experience significant economic growth that aided further renaissance and reformation. Reformation was more of an outcome of renaissance that served to promote individualism in the society. In this paper, the ways and means that enabled individualism and its limits will be discussed. In addition, the opposing factors to individual freedom will also be argued.
Renaissance and Reformation: ways of individualism
In the mid fifteenth century, renaissance began in Europe in the Flanders region. This region consisted of the prosperous cities of those days and their economic status made a great contribution to this rebirth. This later spread to the rest of Europe as economic status registered a significant growth.
This was initiated by different people particularly artists, who through their artistic pieces made the people change their way of thinking; initially people were thinking and living in accordance with the church’s teachings paying huge taxes and watching helplessly as the clergy indulged in all sorts of evil.
With the introduction of renaissance, it made sense to focus on an individual as a contributor to the beauty of the world and hence the one, who values the ideas of each and everyone. A German artist, Albrecht Durer made a trip to Italy to learn new artistic techniques and brought them back home and applied these to his work spreading the Italian renaissance to his people.
Desiderius Erasmus who was a priest of the Dutch origin produced a Greek translation of the new testament of the Bible and pushed for vernacular translations to enable the people to read the bible themselves. Thomas More pushed for social reform through his book Utopia where he describes a harmonious society as ideal. He also emphasized on justice as a way to stop crime and not to put an end to the criminal. (More 4).
William Shakespeare spread the gospel of renaissance through his well crafted plays. European humanist scholars pushed for education and the ancient ways of learning as a way to liberate the people. They insisted on religious themes to be incorporated in the learning process to bring about moral and religious transformation.
The introduction of printing would take Europe to another level. A German priest, Johan Gutenberg, produced the first print version of the entire Bible. Printing made books more available and cheaper, and reading became the culture for the Europeans. When people can read and understand, it is easier to pass across knowledge and ideas that would enlighten the population more on individual freedom and value. As renaissance continued in Europe, the worldly behavior of the churchmen became unbearable.
The then Christians would read the Bible as they had learnt how to read and the Bible was available in different languages; this meant that they understood what was required of them according to God’s laws. This also opened doors to a fresh quest for reforms. Martin Luther initiated this fight that would later enable him to lead a group of Protestants out of the Roman Catholic Church which was the only church in those days.
German Princes opted out of the Roman Catholic Church and joined Luther’s Lutheranism. This led to eruption of religious wars which ended in 1555 when the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, agreed to sign the Peace of Augsburg agreement with the Princes to let them chose the religion for their lands. More groups of people continued to deviate from the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Calvinists believed that destiny was predetermined by God not set by a person’s deeds. Anabaptists upheld martyrdom and many of them were executed for various reasons. Zwingli first abandoned the catholic teachings and embraced Lutheranism. He went further and deviated from the Lutheran way by going against fasting in lent. He also spearheaded marriages of priests giving rise to Zwinglism.
Limits and opposition to Individual freedom
Choosing the way of worship was more personalized. However, the fact that princes were left to choose which system of worship was to be followed in their territories left many with no choice but to comply. Sir Henry due to his own selfish desires took over the Church of England.
He wanted to get a second wife with the hope of getting a male heir to his throne. This was not allowable in the Catholic Church and so he took off. He wanted people to worship his way and those who refused, like Thomas More, were executed. Menocchio’s rebellious spirit got him burnt alive. He was a peasant whose liberated mind made him question the Christian belief about the origin of God. This got him into serious trouble with the church (Gunzburg 28).
The early church dominated the lives of the people making it almost impossible for any human being to control their lives. However, renaissance brought back a revival of culture and a more realistic view of the world and life. The Church only focused on life after death but renaissance brought back the idea of living here and now.
The then Christians lacked the freedom to express their views or desires; all they had to do was follow the Church’s doctrines and teachings without question. The Priests were so worldly, corrupt and greedy. They were a complete contrast of the disciples whose character the church was supposed to emulate. They lived luxuriously, off the people’s hard earned resources which were submitted to the church as taxes and offerings in exchange for indulgence.
This would not be questioned by anybody as the people’s minds were enslaved. With renaissance, the voice of the people had to be heard as they refused to follow these doctrines and opted out of the Catholic Church. This liberation was very much opposed by the church in a bid to stay in control but they fought a losing battle. Finally the church had to go through a great reformation due to overwhelming pressure.
Renaissance and reformation were outcomes of a number of activities. The growth of economy that was aided by the powerful merchants in the region was a great pillar of renaissance. This was the source of financing for the reform agenda. The medieval church had held the minds of the people captive in its teachings and doctrines for ages.
This changed with renaissance as people realized their worth and place in the universe. The church was the main opponent to freedom that came about with renaissance and reformation. The political leadership of the regions chose the way of worship to be followed by their people. This was a bit limiting in terms of making individual choices.
More, Sir Thomas. Utopia. Ed. Robert M. Adams. New York: Norton and Company, 1992. Print.
Gunzburg, Carlo. The Cheese and the Worms: the cosmos of a sixteenth-century miller
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992, c1980. Print.
Individualism in Romantic Literature Essay
Individualism has been the center of debates among researchers and literature analysts. The world is mainly divided into individualists and collectivists.
Some of the countries that promote collectivistic cultures include Korea, Taiwan and Egypt, among others. On the other hand, those that promote individualistic cultures include most western cultures such as Italy, France and England, among others. The latter groups of countries (western) usually attribute individualism to reasoning. They claim that it is an individual that reasons. However, the other groups that promote collectivism credit it with collective responsibility.
Individualism refers to one’s emphasis on self or individual person. It is quite important to note that a group of people can rarely reason as required. In fact, this is what has encouraged individualism in western cultures. This paper will explore Ralph Waldo’s essay on self reliance. It will also endeavor to establish the characteristics of individualism in the essays as well as its significance (Western Culture Global 1).
Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo
Waldo’s essay on Self reliance was written in the early 1830s and published first in 1841. The main theme in self reliance was on “trust thyself” as he tried to encourage people to believe in themselves without fear of societal disapproval. He starts his essay with emphasis on defining “Genius”. He claims that intelligent people usually realize how envy is ignorance and professes self trust. He goes on to say that to heed to Gods call is to put one’s thought into use, since God has made each and everyone unique.
He discusses societal disapproval as well as foolish consistency as the main obstacles to self reliance and trust in one’s self. He believes that society’s emphasis on conformity destroys people’s ability to be innovative and genius. The other factor he emphasizes is self-worth, in which he encourages individuals’ responsibility and right to think for themselves (Buell 64).
Characteristics of Individualism
There are several characteristics of individualists as conveyed by Waldo in his essay “self reliance”. These include the “I” identity, which according to him helps one to believe in his unique gifts from God. He also encourages people to think for themselves and trust in their deeds without considering societal disapproval.
In this regards, he tries to define genius as a characteristic of individualism and believing in one’s thoughts. Waldo goes on to encourage self-worth as it gives people the confidence, responsibility and right to think for themselves without regard to societal disapprovals and conformity, among others. Other characteristics emphasized by Waldo include shunning societal disapprovals as well as foolish consistency (Western Culture Global 1).
Significance of individualism
Individualism as portrayed by Waldo in his essay on self reliance seeks to make geniuses and individualists who can think for themselves without involving influence from the society. Societies seek to ensure people conform to similar values and actions. In addition they emphasize the need to be consistent with these values. This is foolish consistency, according to Waldo, and he therefore encourages individuals to trust in themselves as they are uniquely created (eNotes.com, Inc. 1)
Ralph Waldo’s essay on self reliance was written as early as 1930s but was first published in 1941. He encourages people to think for themselves and trust in their deeds without considering societal disapproval or other obstacles such as foolish consistency which the society emphasizes.
The author advocates for self reliance as an initial stage of development and not the goal. He also states that self reliance is not anti-community. In essence, he encourages individuals to believe in their potentials and put efforts to achieve them without distractions (Richardson 99).
Buell, Lawrence. “Emerson”. Cambridge. Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2003: 64
eNotes.com, Inc. “Self-Reliance Study Guide”. eNotes.com.14.07.2011.14.07.2011. https://www.enotes.com/topics/self-reliance
Richardson, Robert. “Emerson: The Mind on Fire”. Berkeley. California: University of California Press.1995: 99.
Western Culture Global. “Individualism”. Western Culture Knowledge Center.26.01.2010.14.07.2011. https://westerncultureglobal.org/
Individualism vs. Collectivism Report (Assessment)
This paper discusses the ideals of individualism and collectivism. There exist cultural disparities in social behavior caused by ideals of collectivism and individualism. Individualism is the notion that life is individualistic and thus, everyone has a right to live as he pleases (Sampson, 2001).
This ideal also holds that a person ought to act on his individual opinions, pursue the values of his preference as well as utilize and maintain the creation of his effort. Besides, it is the thought that the person is an end to himself, independent and the basic component of moral concern (Kim, 1994). This represents the principle that Americans expressed and endeavored to launch when they formed the Constitution that safeguards a person’s rights to freedom, rights to live, right to own possessions, as well as the individual quest for happiness.
On the other hand, collectivism is the thought that a person’s life belongs to the entire community and that he does not possess any rights (Kim, 1994). Rather, the idea holds that an individual should forfeit his goals and values for the good of the larger group.
From the perspective of collectivism, the society forms the fundamental element of moral concern, and a person has to serve the group to get value (Kim, 1994). In other words, the only rights that an individual possesses are those that the society bestows. From when a person is born to the day of his demise, the community allows him certain rights and denies him others. This ideal values the welfare, preservation and happiness of the entire community.
Collectivism and individualism have a strong attachment to the society and thus, they shape our identities and behavior. The two ideals shape our values, attitudes, understanding, communication, socialization, as well as attribution.
Normally, intellectuals use individualist behaviors to describe people in Western parts of the world, including North America and Western Europe, while they use collectivism to describe people from other parts of the world such as Africa, South American, and Asia.
The majority of Europeans and North Americans have a sovereign perception of the self as a unit that is self-sufficient, unique, independent and gifted with exclusive characters.
However, in countries like Africa, Asia and Latin America, citizens embrace a mutually dependent perception of the self as a component of a bigger social system that comprises the family, colleagues as well as others to whom we have social attachments. As per se, Americans are more apt to articulate ego-focused sentiments such as pride and resentment. Conversely, Japanese who are collectivist often announce feelings of gratitude to somebody, familiarity to somebody and association with someone.
Resolving the Conflict between Individualism and Collectivism
The issue of individualism vs. collectivism is a source of main conflict in America. American scholars and politicians seek to know with certainty whether an individual has total rights over his life, or whether individuals belong to societies, from where they should derive their moral values.
Those who support individualism use ideas of metaphysics, to support their claims. They argue that people that we see in the environment exit as entities and not groups. While they recognize that people may be in groups, they say that we see indivisible beings that have their own bodies’ minds and life. In their interpretation, groups are just individuals who gather for their self-interests. They assert that the fact that people exist as entity beings is an observable truth that does not need debate.
Individualism, Collectivism and Culture
Several factors determine whether a culture assumes the collectivist or individualistic nature. The first is the wealth of society. As citizens start to thrive, they become economically independent from each other, and this also encourages social independence, mobility in addition to a focus on individual and not collective ends.
The second factor is the complexity of society. People exist in more multifaceted modern societies, as opposed to the nomads, they get more groups to relate to, and this makes them to have a larger focus on individual rather than collective goals, because they have less loyalty to these groups.
Another factor is heterogeneity. Homogeneous or tight societies are apt to be rigid and intolerant of those who behave in unacceptable ways. Factors that characterize such communities include shared religion, language and societal principles. Heterogeneous societies, which have many cultures coexisting together, tend to be more tolerant, creating room for further individual expression.
Individualism stresses personal autonomy and accomplishment. Hence, an individualist culture honors social status depending on individual undertakings such as significant innovations, inventions, artwork, or charitable work and all dealings that make a person noticeable collectivism, in contrast emphasizes on connectedness of persons in a bigger group. It supports conventionality and disheartens individuals from rebelling and acting distinctively. African development serves as a good illustration of collectivism.
Africans treat productive persons with distrust and force them to share their extra wealth with the community. Therefore, collective reprimands exist to punish the affluent. Such reprimands take the form of social exclusion, loss of status, or even violence. For instance, communities have often used witchcraft allegations to punish gluttony and covetousness in addition to ambitions to travel to other areas.
At the rear of these reprimands is the fear that the connectedness of the society will be destabilized and that a person who seems more flourishing will depart the community or will not reallocate any extra products, or food. In most African communities, people with huge savings tend to keep this as a secret from other community members at all costs, for fear of retribution.
Measures of Collectivism and Individualism
Hofstede (1980) came up with a conventional measure of collectivism and individualism. He utilized studies of IBM workers in thirty countries to draw conclusions. His idea was to study people with equal jobs in diverse nations in the same firm in an attempt to gauge cultural disparities. To evade cultural prejudice in the framing of questions, a team of English and native language speakers participated in the interpretation of the survey into native languages.
Recently, Hofstede’s gauge of individualism extends to about 80 nations. The gauge of individualism in other methods other than Hofstede’s index utilizes a wide selection of survey queries to create cultural standards. To sum up construct indices and information, they use factor analysis.
The index of individualism, in Hofstede’s study, is the primary factor in queries concerning the significance of autonomy, personal time, as well as fascinating and satisfying work. This factor loads negatively on significance of collaboration, associations with seniors as well as harmony and positively on valuing accomplishment, personal liberty, prospects, recognition and progression.
Discrepancies of Individualism and Collectivism among Persons
Attitudes towards collectivist and individualist ideals are not mutually exclusive. For instance, they can exist together on the personal level, since people have both sovereign and co-dependent attitudes. Besides, collectivist and individualist approaches can be set off as a function of social associations and communal perspectives. Thus, we can say, individualist associations are regular with a number of people or in certain circumstances such as in business dealings, while with others the association is collectivist, such as with relatives.
There exists variation in collectivist and individualist attitudes in diverse forms of associations for instance, with a parent, fiancée, neighbor, or colleague. Thus, people belong to certain groupings of collectivist and individualist attitudes.
Development of Individualism and Collectivism among different Countries
Americans perceive individualism as a good thing. Nevertheless, the term individualism seems to have its origin remote to the North American sphere, specifically in the French Revolution. It seems that America used individualism to portray the negative effect of personal rights on the interests of the commonwealth.
The growing surge of the individual rights group was apprehensive. People thought that individualism would quickly make the society fall apart into the power of individualism (Burke, 1973). From this perspective, individualism portrays a worldview opposed to society and communal social organization.
In fact, there is an extensive Western custom of differentiating collective and individual spotlights. For instance, Emile Durkheim utilized the words mechanical and organic cohesion to compare the provisional associations formed in multifaceted communities among different others.
From this perspective, organic solidarity describes a personal focus and the lasting bonds created among parallel others in traditional communities. Mechanical solidarity, on the other hand, is the communal focus. In addition, Weber (1930) differentiated Protestantism with Catholicism to show the difference between individualistic and collectivists. Catholicism believes in collectivism, while Protestantism believes in individualism.
He explained how Protestantism promoted self-reliance in addition to personal interests, while Catholicism supported lasting and hierarchical associations. Weber’s explanation on collectivism and individualism resembles the relationship between the collective rural villages and the individualistic urban societies.
For the last 20 years, the notion of differentiating communities depending on dissimilarities in individualism has augmented in status, in a big proportion due to the very prominent work of Hofstede. Hofstede (1980) distinguished individualism in countries from masculinity, power distance and uncertainty avoidance.
In his descriptions, the particular questions utilized to evaluate individualism centered on the place of work, differentiating the level that employees esteemed individual time and preference with the level they esteemed career trainings and job security. During the Study, Hofstede (1980) assessed likely experiences and inferences of these job-related aspects for communities.
While he was not the first social scholar to center unequivocally on culture, Hofstede’s concepts were significant since they prearranged cultural diversities into distinct patterns, which eased comparative study and instigated a swiftly growing organization of cultural and inter-cultural exploration in the following 20 years.
Typically, researchers depict collectivism as the opposite of individualism, particularly when differentiating East Asian cultural structures and European American (Chan, 1994).
Researchers in social science believe that individualism is more widespread in developed Western societies than other traditional communities in emerging nations are. The process of civic liberation and Protestantism in Western democracies brought social and public structures that supported the position of personal freedom, and self-actualization and individual preference (Sampson, 2001).
Scholars believe that these practices resulted in a Western civilizing center on individualism that is further outstanding in nations and cultural societies with a Protestant legacy. They also relate the thought of Western individualism to both in country and cross-regional relationships of ethnic societies with diverse cultural legacies.
Therefore, in America, it is usually understood that European Americans are less in collectivism and much into individualism than other people in ethnic minority groups elsewhere. Overall, present hypothesis in cultural psychology depicts the most individualistic group to be European Americans. The first thought that comes into one’s mind when dealing with European Americans is their individualistic nature. Since 1835, Americans have been individualistic.
Individualism in America relates to restricted government, as well as equality and individual freedoms. American individualism is also associated with the American frontiers, the Puritans and the origin of their market economy.
Individualism in America
For a long time, Americans have taken liberty, life and the quest for happiness with much significance. Besides, Americans are known to carry out themselves as independent individuals, who are detached from others. They do not expect to receive any free thing from others, and they do not give out their things. They believe that they are individually responsible for their destiny.
In fact, contemporary American cultural idols maintain to express their faith in individualism. Individual privacy as well as personal rights and liberties are celebrated. Besides, independence and individual happiness are highly esteemed.
The truth is that every American endeavors to create a private, special and distinctive self (Sampson, 2001). Besides, Americans perceive individualism as an exclusively American feature that forms a fundamental element of their culture. Nevertheless, despite the apparent consent that European Americans are the model that depicts individualism, there is no logical prove of the principal postulation that European Americans act, or are more individualistic than other societies.
Besides, there exists an obvious tension between the supposition that European Americans are exclusively low in collectivism and more inclined to individualism. Another area of contention is the supposition that the psychological frames built within the cultural ideals of attribution, self-concept and associations are collective frameworks and not just structures resulting from and pertinent to an individualistic perspective.
According to Baumeister (1998), recent American psychological inquiry is mainly focused on an individualistic perspective and may not essentially act as a common form of human behavior to the degree that other individuals or states of the globe are stridently dissimilar from Americans in collectivism and individualism. For instance, focus on self-esteem and the principle that achievement of personal happiness is a fundamental motivational force acts as a guide to explorations on self-concept.
Similarly, construal of cognitive processes and individual perceptions happens with regard to even traits, while equity is the foundation for flourishing relationships (Triandis, 1995). Such models of research can only be in shape with individualistic, but not collectivistic, ideals of the world. According to Triandis (1995), it is true that there exists disparities in individualism and the power of cultural structures is evident for the spheres of acknowledgment and relationality than all other areas.
Psychological Consequences of Individualism
According to Triandis (1995), it is possible to distinguish psychological effects of individualism in relation to self-concept, relationality and attribution. First, self-concept makes individualists to focus on making and sustaining a positive sense of self. In addition, self-concept makes individualists to feel good, to strive for individual success, and hold many unique individual views and attitudes. As per se, abstract characteristics, and not communal, descriptors are central to self-conceptualization
Moreover, it is possible to distinguish psychological effects of individualism in relation to well-being. Individualism calls for open expression of sentiments as well as accomplishment of personal aims. Individualists view these two aspects as vital sources of life satisfaction and well-being.
Furthermore, individualism calls for a personal orientation when it comes to reasoning and judgment, since the cause of the problems or issues is perceived as an entity. Therefore, individualists’ style of reasoning does not consider specific circumstances, or context. Rather, the style presupposes that social information is not connected to the social context.
Lastly, the effects of individualism on relationships are quite tentative. People need relationships and affiliations to groups to achieve self-relevant ends, although relationships are expensive to sustain. Scholars imagine that individualists use equity standards to poise benefits and costs associated with relationships (Kim, 1994).
They postulate that people step out of relationships when the costs exceed benefits and join new relationships that may lead to achievement of personal goals. Thus, theorists suppose that individualists form temporary relationships and group affiliations (Kim, 1994).
Psychological Consequences of Collectivism
A key component of collectivism is the supposition that groups collectivism aims at keeping members of the communal system leaning toward in-groups and afar from out-group. In this case, in-groups include the clan, family, as well as ethnic and religious groups. According to Triandis (1995), collectivism is a varied construct, bringing together culturally dissimilar foci on diverse types and stages of reference groups. Thus, collectivism can denote a wide range of attitudes, values and actions than individualism.
While at times seen as plain opposites, it is possibly more precise to conceptualize collectivism and individualism and as concepts that vary in the issues, they make prominent.
Sampson (2001) explains that collectivism is found in communal societies typified by disseminate and mutual duties as well as prospects deriving from attributed statuses. In such societies, social components with similar objectives and values are centralized. The individual is just a part of the social, making the group that the person lives in the main component of focus.
It is easy to identify possible psychological effects of collectivism. Some of these effects relate to welfare, self-concept, attribution and association. First, with reference to the self, collectivism denotes that belonging to a certain group is an essential feature of identity. On the same note, collectivism requires individual traits to mirror the objectives of collectivism, for instance, keeping harmonious interactions and sacrificing for the ordinary good of other members.
Second, with reference to emotional expression and welfare, collectivists explain that satisfaction in life comes from accomplishing social obligations and ensuring success as opposed to failure in those areas. Besides, collectivists call for moderation in expressing sentiments, but not direct and open expression of inner emotions.
Third, with reference to decisions, attributions and causal thinking, collectivism calls for consideration of the social environment, situational restraints, as well as social responsibilities. Collectivism contextualizes meaning and the memory of collectivists contains details that are richly rooted.
Finally, with reference to relationships, collectivism calls for significant group memberships. Every member in a collective society must belong to a certain group. Members within the groups have certain limitations. In addition, exchanges inside the groups should follow the principles of generosity and equality.
Case study of China
China is a country that has had ideological evolution from a more collectivist society to a more individualistic society. China now embraces capitalism in its economy as opposed to socialism. Capitalists promote individualism (Weber, 1930). They believe that there is always a reward for individual effort and these rewards benefit an individual. On the contrary, socialists promote the well-being if the group rather than the individual.
For a long time, China was a socialist economy. However, China experienced economic transformation in the last two decades and it transformed to a capitalist society. While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) goes on with its activities in the disguise of socialism, it should continue to turn away the surfacing of values like individualism, whose affiliation is in developed, Western democracies such as America.
We all know that China is slowly embracing some aspects of individualism, although CPP does not announce it loudly. Nevertheless, this transformation to an individualistic society has led to realization that each citizen has some personal responsibility for his or her failure and achievements.
In conclusion, collectivism and individualism are cultural aspects that have a strong attachment to the society. Both aspects shape our identities and behavior. They also shape our values, attitudes, understanding, communication, socialization, as well as attribution. Individualism stresses personal autonomy and accomplishment.
Hence, an individualist culture honors social status depending on individual undertakings such as significant innovations, inventions, artwork, or charitable work and all dealings that make a person noticeable collectivism, in contrast emphasizes on connectedness of persons in a bigger group.
It supports conventionality and disheartens individuals from rebelling and acting distinctively. African development serves as a good illustration of collectivism. Africans treat productive persons with distrust and force them to share their extra wealth with the community. Americans, on the other hand, embrace individualism. Every American endeavors to create a private, special and distinctive self (Sampson, 2001).
They perceive individualism as an exclusively American feature that forms a fundamental element of their culture. In fact, Americans take liberty, life and the quest for happiness with much significance. Besides, Americans carry out themselves as independent individuals, who are detached from others. They do not expect to receive any free thing from others, and they do not give out their things. They believe that they are individually responsible for their destiny.
Collectivism requires individual traits to mirror the objectives of collectivists. Collectivists explain that satisfaction in life comes from accomplishing social obligations and ensuring success as opposed to a failure in those areas. They also call for moderation in expressing sentiments, but not direct and open expression of inner emotions. On the other hand, individualists focus on making and sustaining a positive sense of self.
They call for open expression of sentiments as well as accomplishment of personal aims. Furthermore, individualists call for personal orientation when it comes to reasoning and judgment, since individualism treats causes of the problem or issues as an entity. Therefore, individualists’ style of reasoning does not consider specific circumstances or context. Rather, the style presupposes that social information is separate from the social context. Therefore, both collectivism and individualism shape our identities and behavior.
Baumeister, R. (1998). The self. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 680–740). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Burke, E. (1973). Reflections on the revolution in France. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press.
Chan, D. K. (1994). COLINDEX: A refinement of three collectivism measures. In U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method, and applications (pp. 200–210). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Kim, U. (1994). Individualism and collectivism: Conceptual clarification and elaboration. In U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method, and applications (pp. 19–40). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Sampson, E. E. (2001). Reinterpreting individualism and collectivism: Their religious roots and monologic versus dialogic person-other relationship. American Psychologist, 55, 1425–1432.
Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Weber, M. (1930). The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. New York, NY: Routledge.
Collective to Individualism Employment Relationship HR Essay
According to research, individualism is a self-orientation that emphasizes on self-reliance and direct search of entity ambitions that may or may not be constant with inset aims (Harbridge & Crawford 2000, p.67). In addition, it also emphasizes the willingness to face affiliates of the inset to which an individual fit in and an ethnicity where people obtain self-importance from their personal achievements. In most cases, people in an individualistic environment are provoked by self-centeredness and attainment of private goals.
Such a group of people are reluctant to make contribution to cooperative ventures except that their own hard work are identified and desired instead to benefits from the endeavor of others. On the other hand, collectivism comprises the combination of personal welfare to the objectives of the broader work group. It involves allocation, collaboration, as well as group agreement. It shows concern over the welfare of the group and aggression headed for out-group affiliates.
The extent to which there has been a shift from collectivism to individualism in the management of the employment relationship
In most circumstance, collectivists feel that they are an obligatory fraction of the cluster, and therefore will willingly continue to make contributions without apprehension for improvement being taken of them or for whether other are handling their fraction.
This is because they are always sensitivity individually accountable for the group creation and are thus oriented towards allocation group rewards. Many organizations depict both functional and dysfunctional features concerning the application of communism and individuality in the administration of remuneration within the firm (Guest 2008, p.24).
On the contrary, collectivism managerial method in return provides the benefits of more harmonious relationship among employees and the human resource manager. In this type of relationship within an organization, larger synergies may be seen from the incorporated efforts of people with different abilities, while people may take pleasure in a network of communal support (Foster 2005, p.56). On the contrary, there are high chances of the loss of an individual’s self to the group or the persona of the firm while posing high chances of relying on the firm emotionally.
In general, the world has been transformed at an incredibly high rate in the recent past. The various establishments in the past century have created a superior influence on the world internationally (Dunlop 2000, p.18). For instance, the living standards and the way of life has been transformed and is a lot different to what it is right now that what it was in the previous days.
Example of such transformation being experienced currently and is affecting the entire world on a larger extent includes the shift from collectivism to individualism. There is an increasing rate in the shift from collectivism to individualism in major parts of the world and it is highly experienced at the workplaces particularly in the management of employment relationships. Literature reveals highly that the change from collectivism to individualism in employment relations has declined rapidly causing profound employment relationship changes.
A significant number of studies argue that a change towards the individualization of employment relations is surpassing the traditional collectivist method, with the individual concession of modified employment agreements becoming increasingly more privileged larger than the collective conciliation between trade unions and management. According to industrial relations literature, individualization is the reduction in the practical role of trade unions in establishing the content of employment contracts (Gunnigle 2008, p.86).
This necessitates a sizeable change in the area of work relations, as collective bargaining has been the position connote of managing the employment agreement for the main part of the twentieth century. New Zealand is the best example of a country that is highly experiencing the shift from collectivism to individualism. This is because the country is facing work disagreement between progressive supermarkets and their employees, instigated by management changing employees from collective agreements onto individual agreements.
It is noted that individualism and collectivism tend to rotate around the employment conformity, which is demonstrated as the key lawful method for developing the regulations of work for the manager and individual employee. Studies explain employment agreement as the result of a transaction that take in both the privileges and the commitments of the employee (Epstein 2001, p.49).
These privileges cover commonly related factors like forfeit and periphery advantages. Nonetheless, agreements also do regulate the responsibilities placed on workers inclusive of workloads, as well as descriptions of job. Therefore, these are components that can be discussed either in a collective or an individual manner.
The extent to which there has been a shift from collectivism to individualism in the management of the employment relationship includes the corresponding decrease in trade union association and thus trade union supremacy. This is because it is difficult for collectivism to continue operating without the presence of trade union partnership.
Research shows partnership fees are the vital way for trade unions to gather their income, and from this it can be enlarged that if partnership reduces, then so does the trade unions income and thus supremacy and financial capability to defend its members. It is true that trade unions are the communal force that promotes collective contract within employment agreements, therefore, the weaker they become, the weaker the impact of collective agreement.
The foremost influences causing this change comprises of minor institution, which are known to have great power over trade unions and collective agreement, thus having an immense influence on trade unions supremacy in the workplace (Graham 2011, p.43). The key secondary institution includes the governments and their decisions on legislation. However, research reveals that the government and employers strong support for trade unions has declined completely.
In addition, other dynamics carried out by managers also contribute to lack of recognition of trade unions resulting into the individualization of employment relations. Certainly, it is normally in the managers best interests not to recognize unions and go for individual agreements. Other researchers argue that managers may exploit the individual workers in cases where there are no trade unions due to extreme pressure to accept reforms, almost resulting into the level of intimidations over their terms and conditions of employment (Jenkins & Klarsfeld 2002, p.56).
In most circumstances, workers are always involved in low level of agreement during the cooperation and low levels of employee participation in change within organizations where individual agreements are in place. Therefore, such extents make people to shift from collectivism to individualism.
This is because such shifts makes the organizations to more easily create new payment approaches and grade structures, while at the same time making the organization to connect the management of work more to the produce market than the exterior employment market.
The extent to which there has been a shift from collectivism to individualism in the management of the employment relationship involves the preference of the unitary organization of work relations within an organization compared to a pluralist structure.
Therefore, the unitary method is associated with individualization of the employment conventions, where the workers and the managers bargain together to discuss the requisites and circumstances of employment agreement (Kim 2005, p.90). On the contrary, the collective method is seen as being extremely pluralist in nature due to trade unions from outside the workplace being brought in to bargain employment conditions or advocate for the rights of the employees.
It is noted that managers have changed their ways in regard to trade unions in order to replicate this change to individualization by choosing to compete with trade unions instead of fighting them. This is achieved through the reduction of the workers needs to consider union partnership.
According to research, there is a connection between the introduction of human resource management and the ever-increasing rise in the decline or shift from collectivism to individualism (Rose 2009, p.45). This is human resource is viewed as a mechanism that promotes individualism and there is no trade unions in such systems.
The current way of government thinking as well as human resource theories and strategies congregate in that they both promote the individualism at the expense of collectivism. In most cases, the human resource management motivates an individualism system to employee management, while the personnel management emphasizes a collectivism system, and thus the change from collectivism to individualism.
Therefore, the extent to which there has been a shift from collectivism to individualism in the management of the employment relationship involves situations where there is need to create self-control, commitment, and a flexible and decentralized structure, as well as high confidentiality employee relations.
All this is only found within an individualism environment since collectivism is dictatorial in nature (Brown 2000, p.78). In most cases, human resources management promotes and motivates young managers to adopt superior freedom in making decision on how to achieve benefit needs, inclusive of decisions on the process of labor management within an organization.
Furthermore, the extent to which there has been a shift from collectivism to individualism in the management of the employment relationship involves the situations where employees desire to be empowered through the human resource management. It is revealed that empowerment is based on adding workers task based participation and attitudinal change. Empowerment schemes are extremely direct and individualistic in nature, basically providing employees more power to come up with decisions within their working places (Williams & Adam-Smith 2008, p.76).
For instance, just like the managers have the power to make decisions concerning their pay levels, therefore, the individuals workers are also empowered even more in increasing their capabilities and supremacy in making decisions and take relevant actions where they would not have been in position to do that in the collectivism approach. Other sources that are viewed to be part of the human resource management motivate the individualization of employment relationships.
Concentration on human resource activities such as equal allocation of resources, participation by workers, as well as shareholding by individual workers leads to individualization. All these activities are equal to the employee empowerment because they try to put in place the goals and objectives of workers with those of the organization through utilizing integrated achievements.
Another extent that has led to the shift from collectivism to individualism in the management of the employment relationship includes the ever-changing economic and political climate (Tuckman & Finnerty 1998, p.23). For instance, due to huge number of unemployment within the country, the effect is always felt on trade unions, which as a result decline, because of the development of jobs in the service section and change from manufacturing to service.
Unfortunately, trade unions do not perform well in service sectors because the large of workers in the service sector includes the casuals, part-time workers and temporary workers. In most cases, it becomes extremely difficult for trade unions to persuade such people to join the team since most of them are not easily found, thus leading to the decrease in trade union partnership levels and decline in collectivism approach.
In conclusion, individualism is a self-orientation that emphasizes self-sufficiency and control, as well as the search of individual dreams that may or may not be reliable with in group goals. On the contrary, collectivism consists of the subordination of individual significance to the intentions of the broader work group. It involves allocation, teamwork, as well as group agreement. This research aimed at finding the various extents to which there has been a shift from collectivism to individualism in the management of the employment relationship.
For instance, the preference of the single organization of work relations within an organization compared to a multiple structure and the corresponding decrease in trade union association and thus trade union supremacy. This is because it is difficult for collectivism to continue operating without the presence of trade union partnership.
Brown, S 2000, ‘The employment contract: From collective procedures to individual rights’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.34, no.8, pp.611-629.
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Williams, S & Adam-Smith, D 2008, Contemporary employment relations: a critical introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Ayn Rand’s Anthem: Individualism and Language Essay
Anthem a dystopian novella by Ayn Rand, originally published in 1938. It tells the story of a man’s struggle with individuality in a society where it is forbidden. The novella’s central theme is individualism, its relation to progress and humanity, framed as a modern version of the Prometheus myth. It also makes use of a limited vocabulary to illustrate how limited thought is when devoid of the possibility to think of the self. This essay will examine some of Anthem’s themes and its main character.
Anthemfollows Equality 7-2521, a man is living in a conservative collectivist society where individualism has been eliminated. Nothing bears a unique name except a practical descriptor of its function, such as “Home of the Scholars.” Even human beings’ names follow a pattern, consisting of a generic noun like Unity or Similarity, and a number. Technology has collapsed from presumably advanced levels to the point where the newest invention, a candle, had been made a hundred years ago. From an early age, the protagonist notices that he surpasses his peers: taller, smarter than most, and, when he finally sees his reflection for the first time, more beautiful.
Eventually, he finds a ruined tunnel left by the pre-collapse civilization, where he hides and performs various experiments. These experiments finally lead him to rediscover electricity, but when he presents his invention to the Council of Scholars, he is sentenced to death. The device is a transgression and must be destroyed because it was individual thought and research that led to it, and “what is not done collectively cannot be good” (Rand 111).
Equality 7-2521 has no difficulty escaping to the nearby Uncharted Forest with his love interest, where they find joy in their newly rediscovered individuality, and eventually settle down in an abandoned pre-collapse house. As the novella ends, the couple has taken on the names of Prometheus and Gaea. Prometheus plans to eventually return to the City from which they fled to recruit individuals like himself and rebuild an individualistic, independent society.
The central theme in Anthem is individuality, rediscovered as the protagonist is rejected by his society and has to learn to think and act for himself. As he does, he discovers that the world outside of the safe, if restrictive, City, is surprisingly friendly, food is plentiful, and no danger is evident. All one needs is the toil of one’s hands, a value that is prevalent in Rand’s later works.
Another theme is the way a limited language prevents people from expressing or even understanding their desires, similar to Orwell’s 1984. In Anthem’s case, it is the individualistic expression that has been abolished, and contrary to other dystopian fiction, this abolition has “resulted in physical and spiritual degradation” (Ashford 14-15). This degradation of language is used in the novella itself, as it only contains 1992 unique words (including plurals, etc.) in its length. There is a noted expansion of the protagonist’s vocabulary in later chapters, after he escapes, associating expression and, through emotion, humanity, with freedom and independence.
There is an allegory to the Prometheus myth, as Equality 7-2521 builds an electrical light (also a source of heat, making it a clear stand-in for fire) to present to the people of the City. This gift is rejected, and it is not God, but the people themselves that punish him. However, in being cast out, he steals another, figurative, fire — the fire of knowledge, individualism — for himself. The technical nature of the device is essential, as technological progress, as brought forth by remarkable individuals, is a significant theme in Rand’s work. “Creation by the individual mind is what makes the human world possible,” associating progress with humanity, as noted by Murnane (141). Anthem presents this association almost literally: the dehumanized, anonymous collective rejects it, and the individual has to bear the burden of discovery.
The only character that gets any definition is the protagonist, Equality 7-2521, later Unconquered and Prometheus. A fellow street sweeper is described as his friend, but nothing can be gleaned from his only action in the novella, refusing to betray the hero’s discovery of an abandoned tunnel. Even his love interest, Liberty 5-3000, gets little to no characterization: she follows him into exile, promises to follow him unconditionally, and die with him if necessary (Rand 129). Later she spends time in front of a mirror, suggesting pride in her appearance and possibly vanity. Therefore, Equality 7-2521 and his growth into Prometheus is the only character that shall be discussed.
At the start of the novella, he is compliant with society’s norms. He does not know the word “I” and only refers to humans, including himself, in the plural. He views his thoughts and actions and sinful — some of the first words the reader sees are, “It is a sin to think words no others think…” (Rand 10). When he is assigned his lifetime duty as a Street Sweeper, he believes he “had been guilty, but now we had a way to atone for it” (Rand 27). However, merely wishing to become a Scholar in the first place is enough to show that he has individuality and ego, but struggles to express them.
Spotting a young woman he likes, the protagonist still struggles to express his thoughts but gives her a unique name — The Golden One. It is a severe transgression since the name “includes the word “one,” a word implying the very individuality that is forbidden by the society” (Knapp 84). Furthermore, the name no longer follows a random pattern, but is directly inspired and describes its owner — precisely, her hair. Not only does this act express Equality 7-2521’s individuality, but acknowledges it in another being, signifying his growth.
In the final chapters, having fled the City and forced to fend for himself, the hero finally finds happiness. His vocabulary expands, culminating in finally learning the word “I” and unlocking a desire not just to be an individual but share his individuality with others. It is his true gift to bring back to society, not the reinvention of a light bulb, the much more literal reference to the myth of Prometheus.
The use of a limited vocabulary is striking, demonstrating how difficult such seemingly universal concepts as friendship can be hard to express in a society where “all men are our friends” (Rand 33). The protagonist openly struggles with explaining his friendship with another person, and Unity’s confession of love turns into “We are one… alone… and only… and we love you who are one… alone… and only” (Rand 137). These feelings, while directed at another person, rely heavily on the concept of self, which the City’s society attempts to eradicate.
Anthem’s themes and allegories are laid bare. Therefore, the novella is to be viewed as much more metaphorically, intended to be taken as a parable. Like many other dystopias, it serves as a cautionary tale but does so without referring to any particular geography or ideology besides the broad category of collectivism. A future like the one described can happen, according to Rand, anywhere and to any society that begins relying too heavily on the collective in favor of the individual.
Anthem is an interesting and important dystopian work and an early display of Ayn Rand’s individualistic ideology. Its themes of individualism and progress would continue to be central to Rand’s future work. While the struggle of the individual in an oppressive society is common to dystopian fiction, Equality 7-2521’s quest puts the search for individuality itself on the forefront, setting Anthem out. In the end, the modern Randian Prometheus’ gift to the people is neither light nor warmth, and it is Ego.
Ashford, David. “A New Concept of Egoism”. Johns Hopkins University Press, vol. 21, no. 4, 2014. pp. 977-995
Knapp, Shoshana Milgram. “Ayn Rand’s Anthem: Self-Naming, Individualism, and Anonymity”. A Journal of Onomastics vol. 64, no. 2, 2016, pp. 78-87
Murnane, Ben. Ayn Rand and the Posthuman: The Mind-Made Future. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016
Rand, Ayn, Anthem. Klaus Nordby, 2016, klausnordby.com/anthem/Anthem.pdf. Accessed 15 Aug. 2019
Individualism in Arab Countries Essay
Individualism culture focuses on goals of individuals and not social goals. Western countries have individualistic cultures while Arabic countries have collectivist cultures. Arab culture is a collectivist culture. Here, individuals’ commitments focus on their nuclear and extended families and close friends rather than on themselves.
Loyalty is the pillar of collectivist culture in Arab nations. Hofstede’s studies on national cultures provide the best point of views in understanding behaviours and cultures of people across the globe. According to Hofstede’s previous studies, he argued that all Arab countries had similar cultural characteristics.
Hofstede gave the Arab world a score of 38 percent on individualism because he viewed the Arab world culture as collective. This score reflects generalisation of the Arab culture. This might be true based Hofstede’s studies. However, we have to note that different nations operate in diverse realities.
In addition, these states have different communities and cultures. Hofstede’s view on the Arab culture of individualism provides a valuable tool for people who are new in the Arab world and need quick judgements and decisions. This knowledge can help us respond to situations appropriately.
Alkailani, Azzam, and Athamneh claim that generalisation of Hofstede’s study in Jordan is not scientifically valid (Alkailani, Azzam and Athamneh, 2012). These scholars note that generalisation of findings from one culture to another culture leads to misleading results. This is because of variations among cultures.
We have to recognise similarities, such as language and religion among Egypt, Iraq, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. However, these countries have differences in relation to social, economic, and political statuses. We must also understand that Arab countries lack stable conditions, which may create cultural dynamism.
Based on such results, it is fundamental for Hofstede’s dimensions to focus on every country of the Arab world. Further, cultures are dynamic based on prevailing circumstances in the society. Therefore, such studies need constant revisions and updates.
In this context, Hofstede should review his work and treat every country within its context. At the same time, Hofstede should consider proximity of various Arab countries rather than a broad generalisation.
Honour is a crucial part of Arab culture. Arabs, especially men must strive to guard their honour at all costs. Some scholars have noted that Arabs must “fight, lie, or kill to protect their honour and that of their family” (Berman, 2008). On the other hand, the failure to protect one’s honour results to shame.
Regaining a lost honour may involve revenge with severe consequences. In the business environment, visitors must be careful about the importance of honour in Arab world. Public criticism among Arabs can lead to a loss of honour. This can lead to serious consequences.
According Arab Cultural Awareness guide, there are several cultures and societies in the Arab world. It has rich and diverse groups, cultures, and communities. Therefore, differences exist in cultural practices. This implies that the culture of honour varies from one Arab country to another. What leads to generalisation of honour culture is the broad consideration of the Arab world.
This is because it is difficult to consider a culture of a nation or nations without generalisation. Therefore, accuracy of honour culture in the Arab world depends on a given context and circumstance. In all, generalisation of honour culture in Arab world provides us with an insight of what to expect.
Alkailani, M, Azzam, I, and Athamneh, A 2012, ‘Replicating Hofstede in Jordan: Ungeneralized, Reevaluating the Jordanian Culture’, International Business Research, vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 71-80.
Berman, L 2008, ‘Understanding Arab Culture’, Small Wars Journal, pp. 1-10.
From Collectivism to Individualism in Marriage Essay
Arranged marriages are decreasing
The “cultural focus” of marriage has “shifted” from a collectivist ideal to an individualistic ideal, more so in the last few decades. A marriage that is established on a collectivist ideal tends to be focused more on the interests of the in-group more than self interests. This is as opposed to the individualistic view whereby egocentrism prevails (Newman & Newman, 2008).
The collectivism practice of arranged marriages is no longer a thriving practice in most societies and instead, couples are becoming more individualistic where romantic love is central to establishment of a marriage relationship. Individuals are making personal choices on whom to settle down with in marriage and concerns about the effect of their choices on others are not of great importance.
Romantic love that has been enhanced by urbanization due to increased choice and creation of an ideal of what constitutes a relationship. Individuals are therefore highly guided by their personal choice on who to marry rather than in-group influences on partner choice.
Individualistic societies have higher divorce rates
The shift from collectivism to individualism in marriages can be seen in how conflicts are resolved between couples. In a collectivism society, the goals created by the in-group tend to have an upper hand as the couples resolve their differences.
This has changed with individualism as conflict resolution is characterized by preference of personal goals. This may to some extent explain why there has been an increase in divorce rate in the more individualistic societies like the West. In less individualistic societies like China and Africa, the divorce rate is lower since the parties have to consider the interests of clan and the in-laws (Jia-xue, 2009).
Wealth growth has reduced interdependence
Interdependence in marriages, where the couple would depend on the extended family or the community for resources or social support, is shifting as individuals are becoming more affluent in an industrialized world. The modern society has changed from an agricultural and hunting society to an industrialized one and this has diminished the advantages accrued from collective lifestyle. Couples have gained economic independence and tendency to pursue own goals or goals that affect the nuclear family only has set in.
Individuals who are settling in marriages or those who are already in marriages are becoming more affluent and the interdependence which is achieved in an in-group is diminishing. This wealth growth has promoted individualism in marriages since couples can accomplish their goals without external support.
More education has promoted individualism as characterized by late marriages and childbearing
Exposure to education is cited as one of the factors that lead to a shift from a collectivism view of life to an individualistic life (Newman & Newman, 2008). Due to more education, individuals are getting a lot of information and cultural diversity is enhanced. As a result, individual choice is strengthened as the person tends to have different views on issues that affect him or her. Presently, both partners in a marriage relationship tend be more educated and therefore personal choice has been enhanced.
It is therefore no wonder that pursuit of academic and career achievement has led to some couples marrying later in life whereas the society expects them to marry at a certain age period. In a collectivist society, in-group members are restricted into the number and extent of choices that they make.
This not only involves the decision on who to marry but also on how to conduct oneself in a marriage relationship. This may explain the recent tendency of women marrying and/ or having children later in life as they pursue their career and academic goals, which are largely personal.
Jia-xue, C. A. O. (2009). The analysis of tendency of transition from collectivism to individualism in China. Cross-cultural communication, 5(4): 42-51
Newman, B. M. and Newman, P. R. (2008). Development through life: A psychosocial approach, (Tenth edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Individualism and Economic Order Essay
There is no use denying the fact that the development of any society is determined by a great number of various facts that create the unique environment needed for the appearance of a certain issue. Thus, money and economy have always been integral parts of human society which determined its existence and ways to evolve. One realizes the fact that the modern age could be characterized by the development of market relations and this kind of economy. That is why, a great number of various specialists try to investigate the given sphere in order to determine some important peculiarities and outline the main perspectives awaiting modern society. Karl Polanyi and Friedrich Hayek also cogitated about the sphere of economy and the role people and society played in its evolution.
Nevertheless, starting the analysis of the main ideas of these authors, it is vital to outline the background and the main processes in society that triggered the growth of the interest towards these issues. It should be said that both Polanyi and Hayek lived and worked at the period which could be characterized as by the prominent tempos of the evolution of the market economy and relations. Moreover, being active actors as any member of society, they could not but try to analyze the main conditions which helped society to choose this very way of development (Vancura 2011). That is why, they introduced their own points of view on the given issue, in which they showed their own vision and understanding of the processes peculiar to society.
Thus, Polanyi created the work The Great transformation which helped him to outline his own ideas about the rise of the market economy and the main conditions of its development. Using Englands model as the background for his investigation, he tends to prove the hypothesis that the modern market economy and state model should be analyzed in terms of the new Market Society (Polanyi 2001). He does not agree that the development of modern society and the evolution of the market economy goes along and have the same stages of their growth.
Thus, he is sure that a certain combination of conditions should appear for a great transformation to happen. Polanyi outlines several models that existed before market relations, however, he comes to the conclusion that the modern system is the most efficient and unique as it leads to the fast growth of society and the market (Polanyi 2001).
Friedrich Hayek is also interested in the investigation of the sphere of economy and market relations. His investigations are traditionally taken as the basis of the cogitation about the role of an individual in the economy and its impact on its growth. Thus, Hayek states that individuals cooperate under certain conditions that appear due to the change of values and prices. (Hayek 1948). Thus, in the book Individualism and Economic Order Hayek tries to present his own point of view on the given sphere and determine the role of a person in it. At the very beginning of the work the author cogitates about the nature of individualism, trying to determine whether it is true or false (Hayek 1948). Thus, he comes to the conclusion that the whole sphere depends on the actions of an individual which could trigger some processes.
It should be said that both Hayek and Polanyi revolve around the same issue. Accepting the great importance of the market economy, the scientists also underline the fact that the modern age is characterized by the unique set of conditions that determined the blistering development of the market and economy. Moreover, they both criticize some other ways to manage the economy, underlining a great number o benefits that result from the adherence to the main principles of the market economy. The authors also accept the idea that the given stage of the development of society is mainly determined by the way in which the economy developed.
However, at the same time one realizes the fact that there are also some differences in the points of view introduced by these two outstanding scientists of the 20th century. Thus, Polanyi insists on the idea that Market Society is the human invention that appeared due to the combination of reasons and the progress achieved by humanity in the given sector (Horwitz 2012). Hayek also accepts the great role of society and people in the given progress, however, he tends to give more attention to an individual and structure of human society which led to the development of the economy (Mayhew n.d.).
With this in mind, it is possible to make a certain conclusion. One realizes the fact that market relations and the economy are very important for the modern world. People act in accordance with the main principles of the given model and try to contribute to its development. Thus, Polanyi and Hayek suggest their own vision of these important processes, trying to analyze them and make people understand what peculiarities the modern model obtains. They have some differences in their approaches, however, their investigations are very important for a better understanding of the whole sector.
Hayek, F 1948, Individualism and Economic Order. Web.
Horwitz, S 2012, On Individualism and Economic Order. Web.
Mayhew, A n.d., The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Web.
Polanyi, K 2001, The Great Transformation The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Web.
Vancura, M 2011, Polanyi’s Great Transformation and the Concept of the Embedded Economy. Web.
Individualism Consequences Essay
In her book aptly named Generation Me, Jean Twenge explains how the current generation, also known as iGenerations, Generation Y, the Millenials, or in her book’s case, Generation Me (GenMe) has placed individualism over anything else.
In the first part of her book, Twenge indicates that the focus on individualism in GenMe is a product of demographic and cultural influences that have taught young people to place more importance on the self. The writer dedicates the second half of the book to exploring the consequences of individualism as seen in GenMe members.
This essay agrees with the propositions presented by Twenge. The essay observes that the consequences of individualism have largely worsened the values of the current generation through self-seeking behaviors that have little or no room for collective society value.
The consequences of individualism are indicated below:
Increased self-assuredness and less attention to others
The first consequence, which perhaps draws attention to the root cause of individualism in GenMe, is the inclination for GenMe members to believe in self while caring less about what other people think of them. As would be expected, people who do not care what others think of them do not, in turn, spend time caring about the actions or behaviors of others.
The belief that “there is no single right way to live” makes the self-seeking tendencies even more likely because it reduces the urge for GenMe members to learn from others (Twenge 19). Closely related to the concept of not caring about what others think of a person, is the inclination for individuals to have less empathy towards others.
As would be expected, a generation whose members focus mainly on the self would have little or no time to focus and attend to the need of others. Such is the nature of the current society where narcissism is arguably on the increase.
Reduced etiquette levels
Another consequence of individualism relates to the reduction of “respect for other people’s comfort” (Twenge 26). Since GenMe members were born into a society that had started breaking the rules of etiquette, (Twenge 24) argues that they learned to take standards and rules for granted.
The foregoing argument means that GenMe members are less likely to be law-abiding compared to the Baby Boomers generation that came before them. Their disregard for rules and standards makes them more likely to engage in acts such as cheating (especially in school).
Additionally, their respect for authority and/or experts is low, and they are more inclined to use profane language. Moreover, it would appear that societal taboos that were previously upheld in areas such as dating and marriage, and exposing oneself to others in explicit detail, are no longer applicable to GenMe members.
As a result, it is considered normal for people in the generation to cohabit outside marriage, and even when they marry, they have succeeded in redefining the meaning of marriage (e.g. through same-sex marriages). The increased use of social media among GenMe members means that they can share explicit details about their lives, not only with their friends but also with strangers.
This could be interpreted to mean that although GenMe members insist that other people’s opinion of them does not matter, they are a more inclined shape other people’s opinion of them through the multiple social media avenues.
Even more interesting is the reshaping of religion by GenMe members as described by (Twenge 34). Noting that church attendance has been on a steady decline for more than half a century, Twenge observes that GenMe compensates for their failure to attend church (or organized religion) by individualizing their belief systems.
Unlike the past where people had been socialized to accept religious teachings as absolute truths with no room for questioning the same, GenMe members chose to shape their beliefs whichever way they consider best. For example, they can believe in Christianity but still question some of the events documented in the Bible.
Such an approach to religion has consequences on the moral authority that religious institutions have on society. The individualized approach to religion is according to (Twenge 35) perpetuated by scholars, opinion leaders, and preachers, who underscore the importance of accepting oneself and not pursuing “other people’s approval” because “God accepts us unconditionally, and in His view, we are all precious and priceless”.
Growing up in a culture where the emphasis was on the importance of feeling good about oneself regardless of whether one’s performance was good or not, (Twenge 56-57) observes that GenMe members have been conditioned to believe that performance is inferior to one’s feelings. In other words, one’s performance does not really define who they are.
Consequently, suboptimal performance is a likely outcome, especially in areas where the GenMe members do not have the internal drive to perform. Notably, however, GenMe members are likely to perform beyond expectations in areas that interest them.
Interest aside, the environment where they work needs to be flexible enough to accommodate their varying perceptions and approaches to life. For example, industries in the technology sector have successfully tapped into the potential of the GenMe members by giving them the freedom to dress and work whichever way they please; the only condition given by such companies is that employees must finish work within deadlines.
Increased acceptance of equality and diversity
Because GenMe members are less likely to believe in (or uphold) moral absolutes, they are more accommodating and open-minded to diversity (Twenge 181). GenMe members have departed from social rules that emphasized economic, gender and racial divisions among other negative values that undermined some groups.
By so doing, the subject generation has facilitated equality to take root in most societies. For example, women can now attend schools, take jobs, and perform equal tasks to those performed by their male counterparts. Additionally, race, religion, and nationality are no longer viewed as predictors of one’s capacity to perform specific duties.
A more anxious and depressed society
Although GenMe members have experienced relatively more economic prosperity, peace, and harmony in their generation, (Twenge 105-107) observes that they paradoxically register high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression compared to the baby boomers.
Among the likely reasons why anxiety and depression are prevalent among members of Gen, I am that the independence and self-sufficiency notions created by individualism often culminate in loneliness. Additionally, the focus on self has made GenMe members pursuers of material things, in an era which has registered higher costs of living. (Twenge 120)
For example notes that while “it was once possible to support a family on one middle-class or even working-class income”, the same is not true in the prevailing economic conditions. The foregoing observation can be interpreted to mean that what GenMe members expect from life is often at odds with the economic reality of the day.
Declined collective action for or against policies
Finally, Twenge (140-141) indicates that the individualistic GenMe pays no or little attention to society, the world, and politics. Declining interests in social and political affairs are evident in the reduced voter participation (compared to baby boomers), and the distrust than young people have in governments.
Twenge, therefore, argues that it is likely that the notion of collective action in support or against policy issues will continue declining in the future. Arguably, such a decline in collective actions can explain why most young people do not take labor unions membership and would instead prefer to negotiate pay and other work-related conditions through individual bargaining agreements.
As indicated in the introductory part of this essay, individualism informs most of the decisions made by GenMe members. The focus on self has thus shaped individuals’ perception of themselves as being superior to others, and this has led to a disenfranchised society, where collectivism and the power that emanates from collective action appears to be dwindling.
On a positive side, however, it would appear that individualism has created the environment necessary for equality and diversity to take root in society. Additionally, some industries have successfully utilized the self-seeking nature of GenMe members to facilitate optimal performance in workplaces.
Considering that most of the consequences indicated in this essay are negative, one would assume that society may in the future try to correct itself by embracing collectivism. Whether the preceding change will happen, however, depends on whether GenMe members will be dissatisfied with individualism, enough to champion the need for a collective lifestyle in the future.
Twenge, Jean M. Generation Me. New York: Free Press (Simon & Schuster), 2006. Print.