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Thread: Map of Individualism (vs Collectivism)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Once again, collectivist people adopt collectivist religions, regardless of their history or past connections.
    You forgot that when European adopted christianity, it was the same religion for all. The collectivist/ individualist dichotomy only appeared in the XVIth century.
    Last edited by spongetaro; 29-10-11 at 10:27. Reason: list

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    What is interesting is that it was always the Protestant migrating somewhere else, even if it meant away from the known civilisation in the wilderness of 17th-century North America. In regions that became Protestant, Catholics didn't move to Catholic countries or migrate to the Americas. They just blended with the rest of the group. This shows how fundamentally different the two ways of thinking are.
    This is not true. Just one example, there was once quite large (for a XVI century) immigration of catholics Scotts into Poland, seeking religious freedom. Catholics from Poland were also migrating en masse into America; under kulturkampf in Poland Catholics have not blended into rest of the group, ont he contrary, they resisted it.

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    Collectivism mentality is very high in states like Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, and a lot more in the region. So collectivism is not considered in lower scales such as extended families or kinship ties, collectivism is when a whole nation creates an identity that is exclusive to someone who does not speak the same language, does not have the same religion and does not accept the same flag and culture. So, one cannot be considered a Greek if has a wrong religion or a different rite. Same goes for Serbs who are among the top 10 most collectivist accordign to a study of 53 nations by David P. Schmitt and Juri Allik http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbs. One cannot be a muslim Serb. I think that the original map presented by. Maciamo shoul be revised. As for Albanians, there is a saying by Italians "tutti Albanesi tutti capitani" which describes individualism. Albanians have a national pride but lack desperately a collectivist mentality which was costly throughout our history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I believe that individualism is an innate (hence genetic/hereditary) trait of character. It's opposite is collectivism. Please check the thread How individualistic are you ? for a preface. I believe that the individualism-collectivism dichotomy is responsible for many fundamental cultural differences between European countries.

    Strongly individualistic people leave the parental home at a younger age, would rather choose to live alone than with a flat mate, have a higher divorce rates, are more flexible about moving to another city or country, and prefer travelling by themselves than with a group or organised tour.

    Individualists are motivated by self-improvement (their own ego) rather than by the approval or respect from others. In sports, individualists care more about beating their own records than by beating others. For example, a collectivist-minded sprinter will care about winning the race, while an individualistic-minded sprinter might be disappointed to win if he didn't do a good time.

    Individualistic societies do not put a lot of importance on the group and are therefore more open to outsiders (outsiders are taken for who they are as individuals not what group they used to belong to). Consequently they tend to be more socially liberal (giving more freedom to individual expression). This is because the USA, Canada or Australia were all individualistic societies to start with that they could become the cosmopolitan immigration countries that they are now. Strongly collectivist countries like Japan, China, or most Mediterranean countries have much more trouble accepting outsiders to their group, even from similar neighbouring countries.

    Individualistic people can also be more entrepreneurial and economically liberal, but only if their uncertainty avoidance is low at the same time.

    Collectivist people care more about personal ties, belonging to a group, feeling accepted and respected within the group, but tend to be more clannish too and to distrust people outside their group. Collectivists are first and foremost approval seekers, who care about their image and what others think of them.

    It is vital to understand that collectivism is a totally different concepts from egalitarianism, socialism or communism.

    - collectivism : caring about what others in your group think of you, caring about the image of your group from the outside. It's essentially about image, respect, interpersonal relationships and emotional dependence on the group.

    - egalitarianism : feeling/opinion that other people in society deserve the same fundamental rights (which nowadays has come to include social security and education, in addition to freedom). Egalitarian societies also prone lower income inequalities and equal salaries between men and women. Nordic countries, which are individualistic, are usually regarded as the most egalitarian. This doesn't prevent some strongly collectivist countries to be egalitarian (e.g. Japan). Some English-speaking countries are quite egalitarian (Ireland, Canada, Australia), while others are among the least egalitarian in the world (USA), but all are resolutely individualistic. There is absolutely no correlation between egalitarianism and individualism.

    - socialism/communism : economic system in which the state owns a large part of the economy and plays a strong role as a regulator (using restrictive laws, taxes, subsidies, etc.). Historically socialism was never really implemented before the 20th century, but all developed countries now have at least some socialist policies. The only countries that still lack the socialist system of tax redistribution in public health care, education, pensions and other public services are all strongly collectivist countries (mostly in Africa). The most individualistic countries in Europe have some of the most generous socialist systems too (obviously Scandinavia, but also Britain which has one of the few completely free health care in the world). Therefore socialism is a really more an index of socio-economic development and is completely unrelated to the individualism level.

    None of these three concepts are related with one another other than by chance and circumstances.

    Collectivism is a character trait set in the genes.

    Egalitarianism is a variable opinion that depends a lot on the (genetic and cultural) homogeneity of society, but also on deep-rooted cultural values that evolve with time.

    Socialism is a political and economic system which popularity depends on the electorate, the socio-economic history of a region, the current economic climate, and many other factors.


    I have expanded more about individualism in this thread (not just the OP, but posts further down too) especially about its relation to entrepreneurialism and the establishment of population colonies.



    I have used Geert Hofstede's scale of individualism vs collectivism to make the map. There was a lot of data missing in Eastern Europe, which I had to infer from the score for neighbouring countries and based on the genetic and cultural similarities. Genetic traits don't fit neatly within a country's political border. In general I have found that the percentage of Y-DNA haplogroup R1b-L11 (Celto-Germanic) correlates fairly well (though not perfectly) with high scores for individualism. The strongest matches seem to be the S21/U106 and S28/U152 subclades.

    Italy has a strong north-south gradient. In Germany and Poland it is a weak east-west gradient. In France I followed the genetic curve separating the more Celto-Germanic north and east against the more Neolithic/Mediterranean centre and southwest.

    Bulgaria and Romania had a score of 30, but knowing that Romania had a substantial Hungarian (and German) community in the Northwest of the country, I increased the score for that region and lowered in for the rest of the country to keep the average. I gave Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and North Greece is lower score than Romania, Bulgaria and the Greek average because these societies are are some of the best examples of collectivism in Europe (e.g. the strong local communities isolated from each others for centuries, strong family ties, strong distrust of the government...).

    The Arab World got an average score of 38, but West Africa of 20, so I gave the Maghreb an intermediary score.


    EDIT : I have made a new map using different colours for individualism (blue), collectivism (red) and an intermediary purple. I also changed the scale.

    Ur map of Individualism is pretty close to the maps of Y DNA spread by Germanic speakers or just Germanic areas. so southern Scandinavia not all of Scandinavia and deifntley not Finland doubt it means anything. I doubt it means anything or is genetic. Seeing u explain those traits is kind of shocking because it explains what i have thought and felt i did not know other people had. I have always been pretty individualistic almost all of those traits matched what i have done my whole life or felt like doing pretty well. But i do care alot about my groups i really really don't like accepting outsiders and foreigners and always very faithful to things and i care about representing my group. And i care alot about keeping things traditional and not new. Like i dont like throwing away old toys and other stuff.

    I dont think anyone is 100% of what u showed as individualistic or collective. It is amazing how u can explain traits so well. I think everyone at least some what of a mix of the two. I never understood why coaches said we should be disappointed after loosing a un important game i have almost always only cared about how well i did. Almost all the individual stuff matched. The main one that did not is being open to outsiders and not caring about groups or treating outsiders equally.

    I dont think genetics have anything to do with personality. Ethnic groups are young look at America ethnic groups are a mix of diff people that lived before that ethnic group formed. No one is 100% from one line except maybe native Americans. U would except People whose ancestors were in Celtic and Germanic tribes so all western Europeans and south Scandinavians. To show off alot and be very cockey in a similar way to Inner city hip hop culture, to be individualistic, Wild and alot of other things. But look at western Europe since the mid ages they have been the oppiste of what their Germanic and Celtic ancestors were. Look at cultures in west Africa which are very traditional and about family and clan then look at African american families were most don't grow up with fathers. All humans races have naturally the same personality traits diff things that cause their cultures to form cause them to use diff traits more or less.

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    It also correlates with the population density if it is urban (England, Holland, NW Germany, N Italy, Budapest(?)). Urban life is usually much more individualistic than in villages. Probably USA would reveal similar results with New York being much more individualistic than Alabama for instance?



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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHorsto View Post
    It also correlates with the population density if it is urban (England, Holland, NW Germany, N Italy, Budapest(?)). Urban life is usually much more individualistic than in villages. Probably USA would reveal similar results with New York being much more individualistic than Alabama for instance?


    How do u know how indvidulistic a area is. Maciamo says intresting stuff but it has nothing to do with genetic's. ur argument about urban stuff makes more sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    Maciamo shoul be revised. As for Albanians, there is a saying by Italians "tutti Albanesi tutti capitani" which describes individualism..
    I agree with this. I can't point my finger at it yet, due to lack of time of free thinking (my hobby), but something is a bit off.
    The strongest forms of collectivism came from North, where the most individualism should be. Very nationalistic Germany leading to WWII, and communism started with Marx and Engels in the West and introduced to Russia. In Scandinavia people easily pay taxes and work for companies or general good of country together.

    When we take South of Europe, it is reversed. People take care of themselves and their families first before they do something for communal good. Fascism wasn't successful in Italy, and Italians didn't care for fighting for it either, or Mussolini's wars abroad. Italians can easily mouth to policeman and go where they want, but it verges on impossible in Germany or Sweden.
    In Greece everybody avoids paying taxes, like it was a national sport, and there is huge divide between them-government and us-people.

    We have a very peaceful Scandinavia working together for good of all 3 countries, and the world, with widely known companies like Volvo, Ikea, Ericsson. On other hand we have many smaller, not to say individualistic, countries in Balkans that can't come to even simple cooperation, and hating each other.
    I'm not saying that individualism and collectivism is better than the other. I think they need better definitions in this context.

    PS. There are other proverbs:
    One Jew - two political parties.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHorsto View Post
    It also correlates with the population density if it is urban (England, Holland, NW Germany, N Italy, Budapest(?)). Urban life is usually much more individualistic than in villages. Probably USA would reveal similar results with New York being much more individualistic than Alabama for instance?


    Wow it correlates really well with the collectivism/individualism map. Nice post!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHorsto View Post
    It also correlates with the population density if it is urban (England, Holland, NW Germany, N Italy, Budapest(?)). Urban life is usually much more individualistic than in villages. Probably USA would reveal similar results with New York being much more individualistic than Alabama for instance?


    Actually I see little correlation. Scandinavia and Ireland is more on the individualistic side, but has a low population density. Places in southern Italy like Campania, Apulia or Sicily are very collectivist, but as densely populated as England, and much more than Scotland or Ireland.

    In France we could say that northerners are more individualistic than southerners, although this is not reflected in the population density.

    In Belgium the Dutch-speaking north is more densely packed than the French-speaking south, but that doesn't make them more individualistic. Actually I'd say that Walloons are often more individualistic than Flemings.
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    If you would make a suicide rate map, we could compare it with these.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Actually I see little correlation. Scandinavia and Ireland is more on the individualistic side, but has a low population density. Places in southern Italy like Campania, Apulia or Sicily are very collectivist, but as densely populated as England, and much more than Scotland or Ireland.
    True, and Hungary also does not match so well. The correlation is not perfect of course and it would be foolish to claim population density to be the only cause of "individualism". But I'm still sure it is one important reason, because the strong social monitoring in villages where everybody knows everybody limits "individualist" life-style causing "individualists" to escape to big towns where they are allowed to be more individualistic. Reversely, conservative ( or "collectivist") people tend to stay home in the environment they are accustomed to, avoiding risk, change etc. And third, densely populated regions provide more opportunities for individualism (entrepreneural opportunities, cultural diversity, moral diversity), whereas rural areas are too simple (homogeneous) to provide space for every individuality. I think big towns naturally attract individualists (whatever that term means exactly).

    In France we could say that northerners are more individualistic than southerners, although this is not reflected in the population density.
    It fits quite well for France in my eyes. The high density in the south is concentrated to the east where it is also more blue in your map, so it fits. The remaining southwest has then the lowest density from whole France and it is at the same time the most red in your map, so it fits. When excluding the south-east, the north of France is higher populated and also more blue, fits.

    In Belgium the Dutch-speaking north is more densely packed than the French-speaking south, but that doesn't make them more individualistic. Actually I'd say that Walloons are often more individualistic than Flemings.
    If true then this differs from the map. If the map is correct then the Belgium maps also match well in my eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Actually I see little correlation. Scandinavia and Ireland is more on the individualistic side, but has a low population density.
    I forgot to add that, in my humble opinion, Scandinavians are not so individualistic anyway because they often regard state and king like a family and father, pay the highest taxes, are often engaged in communal activites, much team work, solidarity, etc. Germans as not so individualistic either for not exactly the same but similar reasons. I have also doubts regarding Ireland, but I'm not in the position to judge since I don't know much about them except that they like to spend their free time in the pub

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    EDIT : I have made a new map using different colours for individualism (blue), collectivism (red) and an intermediary purple. I also changed the scale.

    I can see for Serbia it is not real picture. In Serbia is proverb (humorous): Two Serbs three parties. Serbs are strong individuals. Someone does not care much for the other. In some areas Serbs are similar to Americans. For example, lawyers live well in Serbia and in America (they have a lot of litigations).

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    Serbia is more like schizophrenic area :)
    Individualism is high, but you can't go against the collective. It's like crossing the mountain in the winter. You're OK if you go with the group. You're OK if you go alone, but along their trail. You're fu*ed up if you try your own route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    Serbia is more like schizophrenic area :)
    Individualism is high, but you can't go against the collective. It's like crossing the mountain in the winter. You're OK if you go with the group. You're OK if you go alone, but along their trail. You're fu*ed up if you try your own route.
    Hofstede performed research for all Yugoslavia and then it was socialism. Since the socialist values dominated his results are real. Communist party members were elite.

    But today everything is different, and the people returned to the strong individualistic mode. If Hofstede would today performed research in Serbia, individualism would prevailed in his results.

    Individualism is positive but the system must be arranged to be able to express its benefits. As you have noticed "schizophrenic area" it is because people are without social responsibility. In other words, individualism is positive and gives results only if people have social responsibility. Maybe it takes time for people in Serbia to learn to be socially responsible.

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    Anyway this map looks like it's made out of:

    individualism= (income*latitude*number of ships)/(cultural and social correlation factor*altitude)

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    Italy one of the most individualistic countries? It sounds quite strange to me.
    Here there is a strong role of the family, also religious, ideological, (also football fans!) groups are really felt central and well rooted.
    I'm definitely collectivist but libertarian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
    Italy one of the most individualistic countries? It sounds quite strange to me.
    Here there is a strong role of the family, also religious, ideological, (also football fans!) groups are really felt central and well rooted.
    I'm definitely collectivist but libertarian.
    There is no way to perfectly define everyone were all pretty much mixes of these traits. I am not sure if u can define how individualistic or collective a country is and i really doubt it has anything to do with genetic's. Maciamo also made a thread how did ancient rome turn into Italians. Because it seems their personality traits were so diff. If that is true it is really proof genetic's has nothing to do with it. Also look at the difference between modern French culture and personality very different from their Gaulish ancestors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Haired View Post
    There is no way to perfectly define everyone were all pretty much mixes of these traits. I am not sure if u can define how individualistic or collective a country is and i really doubt it has anything to do with genetic's. Maciamo also made a thread how did ancient rome turn into Italians. Because it seems their personality traits were so diff. If that is true it is really proof genetic's has nothing to do with it. Also look at the difference between modern French culture and personality very different from their Gaulish ancestors.
    I'm not talking about genetics, I just say that when I think about Italy, I think about other different traits (and this depends on other things like culture or history, not on genetics). Anyhow, you're right that it's not fair to generalize too much, but I think that some differences are evident between countries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
    I'm not talking about genetics, I just say that when I think about Italy, I think about other different traits (and this depends on other things like culture or history, not on genetics). Anyhow, you're right that it's not fair to generalize too much, but I think that some differences are evident between countries.
    I don't know what Italians are like in Italy. But in America u think of mafia when u think of Italian u get what i am saying. And they live mainly in eastern big cities like New York, Boston, New Jersey, Chicago etc. Also u think of food like Spaghetti, Pizza, etc. Italian lots of really good food. I think there is alot of very very famous food Italians invented while in America. I don't know that much about Italian mafi i have seen a bunch of movies and history documentaries. All i can gather that has to do with this. Is their very organized, cold, and smart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrick View Post

    Individualism is positive but the system must be arranged to be able to express its benefits. As you have noticed "schizophrenic area" it is because people are without social responsibility. In other words, individualism is positive and gives results only if people have social responsibility. Maybe it takes time for people in Serbia to learn to be socially responsible.
    That's true to all communist countries. The forced collectivism of masses was very counterproductive. They've taken away individualism therefore responsibility of individual's actions. In short, nobody cared, nobody was responsible, nobody could change anything. People stopped being responsible, engaged and productive.
    When we go other way with over exaggerated individualism it might lead to fully blown anarchy and disarray in the strength of a country.
    Most likely the best way to go is when there is a good balance between individualism and collectivism.
    I have no idea how to measure this perfect balance. I would say though, that it happens when country is strong politically and economically, and yet citizens are not forced to belong, to behave certain way, and can freely express state of their minds.

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    Maciamo: I have been active on forums for over 10 years, and I can tell you from experience that Northwest Europeans usually don't care so much about what others say about their country, and often like to criticise it themselves. It's a well known fact that the Brits like to make fun of themselves. I am very individualistic and am the first to criticise my own country (I simply find no connection between myself and the mistakes or inefficiencies of others, be it within my family, in my country or in the rest of the world. I don't feel more responsible for the behaviour of a cousin than for a perfect stranger from another ethnic group).

    And by the way, Finns aren't so much more individualistic than Spaniards. The gap is bigger between Finns and Danes.
    I suppose I found the wrong British people, always with the accolade of BPL like the biggest show on earth, or how great is George Best, or how pathetic was the insular mentality in Suares' affair; and always mentioning that supposed British superiority .

    Look at that little fat chap. We'll murder this lot”, well that was really pathetic and the result was a nightmare for them.

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    Great map thanks Maciamo.

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    Great topic! And well introduced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I believe that individualism is an innate (hence genetic/hereditary) trait of character.
    I have to disagree already with this first sentence. Today people tend to blame genetics or use it as excuse for virtually anything.

    Looking at the map I would notice that east Europe was occupied by regime that existed and schooled and trained people into collectivism, and have due to that and due to wars or due to being subjugated, kind of slept over awakening of individualism that struck west Europe and USA in past couple of centuries..

    I would not say that barbarian Europe was individualistic nor that catholic church age was individualistic. I think it is the matter of historical and religious context whether individualism or collectivism will be emphasized and used as development model.

    Saying this I do not say collectivism is bad in all aspects, nor that individualism is bad.
    I am saying egoism is bad whether it leads person through individualistic or collectivist way of thinking.


    Strongly individualistic people leave the parental home at a younger age, would rather choose to live alone than with a flat mate, have a higher divorce rates, are more flexible about moving to another city or country, and prefer travelling by themselves than with a group or organised tour.
    Also strongly self confident and mature people do that.
    Maybe mature is better word than being individualist. It is my opinion that in general it is much easier for individualistic person to become mature person. But he or she must find a way to accept and understand people around him/her. And that would be a piece of collectivism on sound basis of individualism.

    Individualists are motivated by self-improvement (their own ego) rather than by the approval or respect from others.

    In sports, individualists care more about beating their own records than by beating others. For example, a collectivist-minded sprinter will care about winning the race, while an individualistic-minded sprinter might be disappointed to win if he didn't do a good time.
    i see self improvement as one of most positive goals a person can have in life. But I do not see self-improvement as ego motivation. In fact for me key point of self improvement of a person is in battle against own ego(ism).

    Problem with collectivism can be if it is ego driven (need for validation by group) i.e. competitive and exclusive and thus dividing people on members and not members, and building up ego of members based on them being members. On other hand cooperative kind of collectivism can do miracles in team sports or in wars.

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    Wrong thread, sorry!

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