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Thinking CollectivelySocial Policy, Collective Action and the Common Good$
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Paul Spicker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447346890

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447346890.001.0001

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The individual and the collective

The individual and the collective

(p.57) 4 The individual and the collective
Thinking Collectively

Paul Spicker

Policy Press

The main individualist objection to collectivism is that group interests, and group action, are incompatible with the recognition of individual interests. The interests of individuals will always diverge from the interests of the group, and consequently groups can only subsist by repressing individual interests. The formal 'proofs' of this are questionable; people's behaviour is socialised, and people can and do collaborate for mutual benefit. Cooperation is both a means to common ends and an end in itself. Asserting the rights of individuals may lead to circumstances where majorities have to accede to minorities, but the converse may also be true: sometimes minorities have to respect the rights of majorities.

Keywords:   Individualism, Collectivism, Interests, Collective action, Rights

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