X-Message-Number: 5774
From:  (David Stodolsky)
Subject: Individualism - collectivism dimension of national culture
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 96 12:31:19 +0100

In an earlier discussion, I remarked that I was not aware of the use
of the term collectivism as a descriptor of persons in the social
sciences. However, the individualism - collectivism dimension 
has been studied as an aspect of national culture. That is, as a way
of describing nation states. This does have implications for the individual:

"It [the relationship between the individual and collectivity in human
society] therefore affects both people's mental programming and the
structure and functioning of many other types of institutions besides
the family: educational, religious, political, and utilitarian. The
central element in our mental programming involved in this case is
our self-concept (pp. 214-215)".

"An example of the consequences of a more individualistic or more
collectivistic self-concept is the case of religious or ideological
conversion. In western individualist society, converting oneself is
a highly individual act.... However, the history of  all great religions
is on of collective rather than individual conversions (p. 215)."

"Collectivism does not mean the negation of the individual's well-being
or interest; it is implicitly assumed that maintaining the group's
well-being is the best guarantee for the individual (p. 216)"

"For the 19 wealthier countries, 1960-1970 economic growth is *negatively*
related to individualism. This fact (wealth is positively associated
with individualism, but lower individualism with faster growth of
wealth) logically should lead to a certain balancing of wealth among
wealthy countries: If they become too wealthy they become too individualist
to grow any more (p. 232)."

Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures Consequences: International differences
in work-related values. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. [ISBN 0-8039-1444-X]

These results, based upon the "world's largest survey", suggest that
marketing of cryonics in highly collectivistic countries, such as Japan
and China, should aim to subscribe entire social units, such as families,
clans, or other preexisting social groups, at the same time, since
individual enrollment is likely to be almost incomprehensible.


David S. Stodolsky      PGP KeyID: B830DF31       
   Tel.: +45 38 33 03 30   Fax: +45 38 33 88 80 (C)

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=5774