Wednesday, December 5, 2007

#22 - Collectivism vs. Individualism

Intro Video on the Subject Matter

In a previous post I discussed how individuality is only fostered in the free market and undermines the individual expression of the many artists who support intervention in the free market. Essentially this was hinting at this discourse of Collectivism vs. Individualism. While this video series which begins with the video above gos into this ideological battle better than I can, I would like to draw a parallel.

Globalism is essentially Collectivism applied to international relations, while those who would be individualism believe in protecting the sovereignty of nations. Globalist believe in equality of resources in arbitrary sense thinking well this country is more prosperous than this other one, so it is obliged to help out this nation despite national interests and other circumstances. The Individualist believes in equality of autonomy, so while it would not prohibit the wealthier nation from helping the less wealthy one, it would not interfere if it chose not to do so and respect the sovereignty of that nation.

Like the video saids, all discourses can in the end essentially be broken down to this level. Ron Paul is rigid individualist protecting the autonomy of all individuals despite his personal feelings towards their use of their autonomy. Essentially the choices you make are your own, and as Adam Smith said in the Wealth of Nations:

As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual value of society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.
- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

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