What are the political differences between collectivism and capitalism?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Collectivism and capitalism are very different ideologies.  The main characteristic of collectivism is the idea that the good of the group is more important than the rights of the individual.  By contrast, capitalism does not believe in taking any kind of governmental action that is aimed at the good of the group.  People who believe in unfettered capitalism believe that the ideal society is one in which everyone acts in selfish ways.  Such a society will end up being better for the group than a society where individual liberties are curtailed.

This means that the major political difference between these two ideologies is the difference in their thinking about individual rights.  A collectivist society does not respect individual rights.  It is willing to override such rights if it feels that that is the right thing to do to help the group.  By contrast, a capitalist society tends to emphasize individual rights (at least their economic rights).  It says that the government must protect people’s economic rights in order to create the best possible society.  This is very different from the way that collectivism operates.

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