individual vs collective

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LuckyR
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Re: individual vs collective

Post by LuckyR » November 18th, 2020, 2:59 pm

GE Morton wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 12:49 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 10:46 am


Of course not. Because the collective values individuality, instead of trying to suppress it.
To which collective do you refer?
All society's members have their own beliefs, etc., and it is the combination of them all that results in society's decision. Isn't that the origin of democracy?
The "society" is not a collective and does not make any decisions. A majority may constitute a collective and make a collective decision, but that is not a decision of the society; it is only the decision of a faction. If that faction proceeds to impose that decision on other members of the society by force it raises the moral issue mentioned previously: Under what circumstances, if any, may one moral agent impose his will, by force, on another moral agent?
"may" or "should"?
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by GE Morton » November 18th, 2020, 8:19 pm

Ecurb wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 12:54 pm
Collectivism is a scam. Listen up, kids: Your baseball card collections will never be worth any money. I was once a copywriter for a leading dealer of "fine collectables" (you've all seen their ads) I know how it works.
You seem to be confusing collectives with collections. So the sarcasm falls flat.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by GE Morton » November 18th, 2020, 8:23 pm

LuckyR wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 2:59 pm
GE Morton wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 12:49 pm


To which collective do you refer?



The "society" is not a collective and does not make any decisions. A majority may constitute a collective and make a collective decision, but that is not a decision of the society; it is only the decision of a faction. If that faction proceeds to impose that decision on other members of the society by force it raises the moral issue mentioned previously: Under what circumstances, if any, may one moral agent impose his will, by force, on another moral agent?
"may" or "should"?
The "should" question is a subset of the "may" question. An act that is not permissible cannot be obligatory.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Count Lucanor » November 19th, 2020, 12:49 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 9:29 pm
No, they are not cooperating to produce those unintended results. As commonly understood, the term "cooperation" implies intention. Their diverse but uncoordinated efforts may result in some outcome --- every effort of everyone will have some outcome --- but unless that outcome is intended and those efforts intentionally directed to that end it does not count as "cooperation."
All human acts in general, even if individually carried out, imply intention. So intention is not a particularly distinctive feature of cooperation. What makes cooperation what it is, actually, is the joint effort, people working together, which inevitably will produce an outcome. Usually, this outcome is expected by the agents, and so cooperation is generally understood to involve planning, coordination, working towards a known goal. This is fine, but that does not exhaust the meaning of the word "cooperation" and if we're to settle this with dictionaries, there are plenty that provide a definition where the "common goal" aspect is missing:

Collins Dictionary
cooperation in British English
or co-operation (kəʊˌɒpəˈreɪʃən )
noun
1. joint operation or action
2. assistance or willingness to assist
3. economics
the combination of consumers, workers, farmers, etc, in activities usually embracing production, distribution, or trade
4. ecology
beneficial but inessential interaction between two species in a community
GE Morton wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 9:29 pm
Same mistake. The interactions among members of the myriad species in an ecosystem drives evolution, and the state of the system at any given time will be an "outcome" of those prior interactions. But it would be absurd to claim that those species "cooperated" to achieve that outcome. E.g., it would be absurd to claim the gazelle "cooperated" in her being devoured by the leopard.

You're equating an intentional, cooperative effort to achieve a desired end with the unpredictable and transitory states of a complex adaptive system (CAS). See comment to Ecurb above.
Again, this is all dependent of your narrow definition of the word "cooperation", which does not seem justified, given its broad use. Let them be noticed both the economical and ecological uses of the term in the definition provided above.

Let's not lose sight anyway of why we are discussing the term "cooperation". My point was that your definition of collectivism was not wrong, but no less vague than other descriptions you rejected. You defined collectivism in terms of collectives, and collectives in terms of cooperation towards known goals, but I argued that some collectivist doctrines would advocate for a concept of society where cooperation is understood as joint, coordinated action, that produces outcomes, without conscious knowledge of those outcomes or their indirect results. And indeed there are such doctrines, which then makes my point that your definition lacks precision, regardless of whether those doctrines are right or wrong, and I would argue that they are right, but that is actually irrelevant for my point.

The key, of course, lies in the way you worded your definition of collectivism to imply the blurring of the distinction between what some people think a society is, and what they want it to be. Is it the same to say that collectivists view society as already working as a collective and to say that they view society as requiring to work as a collective? Evidently no, since the implications are different. It could well be the case that collectivists think (as it is actually the case) that society works as a collective because collectives entail association of both privately run organizations and a public sector, of which their combined, overall, and often unconscious effect, is the production of positive and negative externalities that go back into the system. This could be working somehow chaotically, without the existence of widely accepted common goals driving the system, exactly as what you call complex adaptive systems. Collectivist might say: "fine", and then they will propose that this system can be further improved by making it a more conscious, better organized, more efficient, planned effort, with common goals, especially with regards to the public sector, although this varies in different collectivist doctrines. Anyway, it means taking the CAS up a notch. Regardless of "collective" being associated or not with cooperation in the terms you say, the difference between the "is" and "ought" allows for a broader and more flexible interpretation of collectivism.
GE Morton wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 9:29 pm
Think through what you seem to be claiming there: Is everyone who believes the cloudless, daytime sky is blue make them a collective? Everyone who patronizes a MacDonald's on a given day?
No, in a general sense, collectives are mere classifications of sets according to common characteristics, they are collections of things. In a political, or if you wish, sociological sense, collectives are sets of people which are defined with multiple criteria that unite them, but as with all classifications, the selection of those criteria is often a bit arbitrary. At one time, the most widely used classification criteria in political sciences was social class, itself defined in terms of the position in the production system, but lately with the rise of identity theories in politics, some other classifications have become more fashionable: gender, race, etc. The feminists are called collectives, so the LGTBI groups, the black people, or the white people, and so on, and it can be the case that someone not particularly interested in being identified as part of such collectives, is included in any of those groups anyway. Of course, people that do identify themselves by their common characteristics, can actually associate and work together in a coordinated way to pursue common interests, and these will be called collectives, too, such as a political party, lobby group, workers union, etc.
GE Morton wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 9:29 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 9:44 pm
To be consistent with your own claim, you would have to say that a free trade policy (if such a thing existed) cannot be good for society as a whole, and therefore it would be bad for some part of society.
Yes. It would be bad for inefficient producers who could not compete successfully in free trade environment. No public policy is ever "good for society as a whole."
That's assuming that a "free trade environment" exists, which is of course a pernicious myth of libertarian ideology. And that's why it would be a bad policy for society as a whole, except for those few who benefit from peddling this ideology.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by GE Morton » November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 12:49 am
GE Morton wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 9:29 pm
No, they are not cooperating to produce those unintended results. As commonly understood, the term "cooperation" implies intention. Their diverse but uncoordinated efforts may result in some outcome --- every effort of everyone will have some outcome --- but unless that outcome is intended and those efforts intentionally directed to that end it does not count as "cooperation."
All human acts in general, even if individually carried out, imply intention. So intention is not a particularly distinctive feature of cooperation.
You're evading the point. Of course all human acts imply intention; that is a tautology (an "act" being an intentional behavior). Cooperation, however, implies a common intention among members of a group, namely, to accomplish a specific task or reach a specific goal.
What makes cooperation what it is, actually, is the joint effort, people working together, which inevitably will produce an outcome. Usually, this outcome is expected by the agents, and so cooperation is generally understood to involve planning, coordination, working towards a known goal. This is fine, but that does not exhaust the meaning of the word "cooperation" and if we're to settle this with dictionaries, there are plenty that provide a definition where the "common goal" aspect is missing:

1. joint operation or action
2. assistance or willingness to assist
3. economics: the combination of consumers, workers, farmers, etc, in activities usually embracing production, distribution, or trade
4. ecology: beneficial but inessential interaction between two species in a community
When it is missing it is because it is implied:

1. Acts of different agents with different intentions are not joint actions.
2. Assistance or willingness to assist with a specific task. "Assistance" makes no sense otherwise.
3. The combination of consumers, workers, farmers, etc, in activities usually embracing production, distribution, or trade of something. A farmer harvesting his wheat in Kansas and and a technician testing a circuit board in Silicon Valley are not cooperating on anything.
4. Beneficial but inessential interaction between two species in a community. Only certain types of interaction will be beneficial to both species.

Here, again, is the standard defintion:

COOPERATE (intransitive verb):

1. To work or act together toward a common end or purpose.

https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/searc ... =cooperate

But all of this is, again, evading the point. I agreed earlier that "cooperation" could be used loosely to denote any activity involving multiple actors, without any common goal or intention. But that eecentric definition is not the one intended by advocates of collectivist social/political ideologies, and it would not serve their purposes. All ideologies, including collectivist, advocate specific courses of action aimed at specific goals. Collectivists assert (falsely) that their proffered goals are those of "society as a whole," and which all may be compelled to support (an oxymoronic position, since if the goals in question were truly universal no compulsion would be necessary).
You defined collectivism in terms of collectives, and collectives in terms of cooperation towards known goals, but I argued that some collectivist doctrines would advocate for a concept of society where cooperation is understood as joint, coordinated action, that produces outcomes, without conscious knowledge of those outcomes or their indirect results.
Actions by different agents who have no common goal in mind cannot possibly be coordinated. The outcomes will be random and unpredictable. I know of no social/political doctrine which champions random, unpredictable outcomes (except, perhaps, anarchism).
The key, of course, lies in the way you worded your definition of collectivism to imply the blurring of the distinction between what some people think a society is, and what they want it to be. Is it the same to say that collectivists view society as already working as a collective and to say that they view society as requiring to work as a collective? Evidently no, since the implications are different. It could well be the case that collectivists think (as it is actually the case) that society works as a collective because collectives entail association of both privately run organizations and a public sector, of which their combined, overall, and often unconscious effect, is the production of positive and negative externalities that go back into the system. This could be working somehow chaotically, without the existence of widely accepted common goals driving the system, exactly as what you call complex adaptive systems.
If these "collectivists" are calling CAS's "collectives" they are using the latter term non-standardly.
Collectivist might say: "fine", and then they will propose that this system can be further improved by making it a more conscious, better organized, more efficient, planned effort, with common goals, especially with regards to the public sector, although this varies in different collectivist doctrines. Anyway, it means taking the CAS up a notch. Regardless of "collective" being associated or not with cooperation in the terms you say, the difference between the "is" and "ought" allows for a broader and more flexible interpretation of collectivism.
Heh. Nice try! No, imposing specific goals will not "take the CAS up a notch." It would be an attempt to transform it into a collective; it would no longer be a CAS. The chosen goals will never be common, the cooperation secured will be forced, and the collective will never be more efficient. The history of Marxist economies in the 20th century supplies incontrovertible evidence of that.
No, in a general sense, collectives are mere classifications of sets according to common characteristics, they are collections of things.
No. A collective is indeed a collection, but not a "mere collection." It is a collection of persons engaged in a specific task or program.
In a political, or if you wish, sociological sense, collectives are sets of people which are defined with multiple criteria that unite them, but as with all classifications, the selection of those criteria is often a bit arbitrary.
Again, no. Those are collections, or sets, but not collectives.
At one time, the most widely used classification criteria in political sciences was social class, itself defined in terms of the position in the production system, but lately with the rise of identity theories in politics, some other classifications have become more fashionable: gender, race, etc. The feminists are called collectives, so the LGTBI groups, the black people, or the white people, and so on, and it can be the case that someone not particularly interested in being identified as part of such collectives, is included in any of those groups anyway.
To the extent feminists, blacks, etc., are engaged in a common enterprise or pursuing a common agenda (such as working with or supporting the NAACP, NOW, etc., and their declared goals they constitute a collective. Women and blacks not sharing those goals or contributing to those efforts are not part of those collectives. Including them in those groups anyway would be arbitrary, presumptuous, and mistaken.
That's assuming that a "free trade environment" exists, which is of course a pernicious myth of libertarian ideology. And that's why it would be a bad policy for society as a whole, except for those few who benefit from peddling this ideology.
No free trade environment, or more generally, a free market, exists today. But they have in the past. Today we can only say that an economy is "mostly free" or not free.

A free market, BTW, does not mean or imply "subject to no regulation."

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 20th, 2020, 10:10 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 10:46 am
Of course not. Because the collective values individuality, instead of trying to suppress it.
GE Morton wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 12:49 pm
To which collective do you refer?
To whichever collective (i.e. human social grouping) we are discussing at the moment. This is a general discussion, I understand, so we are talking generally, about all of them.


Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 10:46 am
All society's members have their own beliefs, etc., and it is the combination of them all that results in society's decision. Isn't that the origin of democracy?
GE Morton wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 12:49 pm
The "society" is not a collective and does not make any decisions. A majority may constitute a collective and make a collective decision, but that is not a decision of the society; it is only the decision of a faction. If that faction proceeds to impose that decision on other members of the society by force it raises the moral issue mentioned previously: Under what circumstances, if any, may one moral agent impose his will, by force, on another moral agent?
Collectives function in a way that is democratic, in some ways. The decision of the majority is often the decision of one or more factions, but it becomes the decision of the collective. N.B. this example of practical democracy is not as ideal as it sounds, as individual members and sub-groups of the collective do not have equal influence. For example, billionaires exert much more influence than their numbers might justify.

Decisions imposed by force are not ideal, but empirical observation shows that this is how our societies work. Societies are so big that they can't be made to conform to codes of conduct, and, the bigger they are, the less they conform. There is no moral justification for this, that I know of, it just is. Nature is red in tooth and claw, they say, and societies act in this way, taking what they want by force. Not always physical or military force, mostly this applies to social forces, by social approval or disapproval, and so on. But I'm not pretending that the truth is other than it is, whether it has our moral approval or not.

You seem to think that a society does not make decisions, although you allow that sub-groups within societies do. Human groupings are similar at all levels. They do change depending on their size, but the theories scale* up or down, and the generalities apply across the board.

* - As all computer-program designers know, scaling is much more than just having the same thing, but bigger.
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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 20th, 2020, 10:12 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 8:19 pm
Ecurb wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 12:54 pm
Collectivism is a scam. Listen up, kids: Your baseball card collections will never be worth any money. I was once a copywriter for a leading dealer of "fine collectables" (you've all seen their ads) I know how it works.
You seem to be confusing collectives with collections. So the sarcasm falls flat.
I'm not certain, but you seem to be confusing humour with sarcasm?
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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 20th, 2020, 10:17 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
In a political, or if you wish, sociological sense, collectives are sets of people which are defined with multiple criteria that unite them, but as with all classifications, the selection of those criteria is often a bit arbitrary.
Again, no. Those are collections, or sets, but not collectives.
Collectives are societies, tribes, teams, families, all forms and sizes of human social groupings. Your distinction is wrong, I feel, and pointless too. What matter if you call a group a collection instead of a collective? What part of the meaning changes if you do? None. We are discussing the behaviour of collectives, not the correct term for them.
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Re: individual vs collective

Post by GE Morton » November 20th, 2020, 3:12 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:17 am

Collectives are societies, tribes, teams, families, all forms and sizes of human social groupings. Your distinction is wrong, I feel, and pointless too. What matter if you call a group a collection instead of a collective? What part of the meaning changes if you do? None. We are discussing the behaviour of collectives, not the correct term for them.
Well, it matters because the terms "collection" and "collective" denote two different things. As commonly used and understood the latter denotes a group of persons working cooperatively at some specific task or goal:

"Definition of collective (noun):
"1: a collective body
"2: a cooperative unit or organization"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collective

"1. An undertaking, such as a business operation, set up on the principles or system of collectivism."

https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/searc ... collective

"1. members of a cooperative enterprise"

http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/collective

No cooperation or even any interactions are assumed for mere collections. Teams are collectives. Tribes and families are sometimes collectives. Societies never are.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Greta » November 20th, 2020, 4:42 pm

GE Morton wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 3:12 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:17 am

Collectives are societies, tribes, teams, families, all forms and sizes of human social groupings. Your distinction is wrong, I feel, and pointless too. What matter if you call a group a collection instead of a collective? What part of the meaning changes if you do? None. We are discussing the behaviour of collectives, not the correct term for them.
Well, it matters because the terms "collection" and "collective" denote two different things. As commonly used and understood the latter denotes a group of persons working cooperatively at some specific task or goal:

"Definition of collective (noun):
"1: a collective body
"2: a cooperative unit or organization"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collective

"1. An undertaking, such as a business operation, set up on the principles or system of collectivism."

https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/searc ... collective

"1. members of a cooperative enterprise"

http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/collective

No cooperation or even any interactions are assumed for mere collections. Teams are collectives. Tribes and families are sometimes collectives. Societies never are.
If we put aside terminology differences, "societies, tribes, teams, families, all forms and sizes of human social groupings" are groups that hold collective aims and goals. Sure, there are internal differences, but that is the case for any group of any size. My parents fought more fiercely than Trump and Biden ever did but our family was a collective due to shared concerns. This is the same with societies.

If, say, China tried to invade Australia, our local partisan fights would soon be forgotten and Australians would attend their shared interests, from their shared tax burden and the shared projects created with those monies.

Billionaires not contributing to tax revenue (Trump apparently did not pay a cent in taxes for a decade) is breaking the "societal glue" of shared investment apart, however. The sense of togetherness that once drew nations together is dissipating. Being is traitor is not the issue it once was, or Trump's refusal to contribute to the nation financially, his contempt for democracy, his genuflection and deference to Putin, and the blatant kangaroo court set up to judge the matter would have once created broad outrage. Today, millions don't care about any of that.

So I would say that western societies were once collectives but they are in the process of breaking apart into a collection of smaller collectives. Despite some obvious bad actors taking advantage of the situation, they are ultimately riding the wave of a larger movement; once a society reaches a certain size, it will fall into ever more chaos unless more controls - formal and cultural - are implemented to maintain order and cohesion. To keep a sack of cats one at least needs a sack, so to speak.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by GE Morton » November 20th, 2020, 9:24 pm

Greta wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 4:42 pm

If we put aside terminology differences, "societies, tribes, teams, families, all forms and sizes of human social groupings" are groups that hold collective aims and goals.
Well, with respect to societies, that is false. There are never any aims or goals shared by all members of modern civilized societies. Any given goal will be shared only by some subset of those members. But if you disagree please cite an example.
Sure, there are internal differences, but that is the case for any group of any size. My parents fought more fiercely than Trump and Biden ever did but our family was a collective due to shared concerns.
Groups who share a goal can indeed put aside other differences for the sake of the goal. But in societies there are no shared goals, and thus no incentive to put aside differences.
If, say, China tried to invade Australia, our local partisan fights would soon be forgotten and Australians would attend their shared interests, from their shared tax burden and the shared projects created with those monies.
Most of them would; not all. Only when the "meta-goal" I mentioned earlier --- everyone has an interest in satisfying his own interests --- is threatened will near-unanimity emerge. But it is never complete. During WWII some people in the US and UK opposed the war --- Nazi sympathizers, pacifists, anarchists, et al. I'm sure that was true in Australia also. In normal times there is nothing approaching a consensus on anything.
Billionaires not contributing to tax revenue (Trump apparently did not pay a cent in taxes for a decade) is breaking the "societal glue" of shared investment apart, however. The sense of togetherness that once drew nations together is dissipating.
That "sense of togetherness," though felt by some, is largely imaginary --- wishful thinking.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Count Lucanor » November 21st, 2020, 12:10 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 12:49 am

All human acts in general, even if individually carried out, imply intention. So intention is not a particularly distinctive feature of cooperation.
You're evading the point. Of course all human acts imply intention; that is a tautology (an "act" being an intentional behavior).
No, I was actually addressing the point. You had made intention the defining feature of cooperation, but it can't be, as there is intention in every human act. BTW, it is not a tautology just because one thing is implied as included in another.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
Cooperation, however, implies a common intention among members of a group, namely, to accomplish a specific task or reach a specific goal.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
When it is missing it is because it is implied:

1. Acts of different agents with different intentions are not joint actions.
2. Assistance or willingness to assist with a specific task. "Assistance" makes no sense otherwise.
3. The combination of consumers, workers, farmers, etc, in activities usually embracing production, distribution, or trade of something. A farmer harvesting his wheat in Kansas and and a technician testing a circuit board in Silicon Valley are not cooperating on anything.
4. Beneficial but inessential interaction between two species in a community. Only certain types of interaction will be beneficial to both species.

Here, again, is the standard defintion:

COOPERATE (intransitive verb):

1. To work or act together toward a common end or purpose.

https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/searc ... =cooperate

But all of this is, again, evading the point. I agreed earlier that "cooperation" could be used loosely to denote any activity involving multiple actors, without any common goal or intention. But that eecentric definition is not the one intended by advocates of collectivist social/political ideologies, and it would not serve their purposes. All ideologies, including collectivist, advocate specific courses of action aimed at specific goals. Collectivists assert (falsely) that their proffered goals are those of "society as a whole," and which all may be compelled to support (an oxymoronic position, since if the goals in question were truly universal no compulsion would be necessary).
Again, you're clung to a singular, narrow definition of "cooperation", and it appears that the only justification for that is to advance your definition of collectivism, which you also use as a blanket term to portray any form of collectivism as authoritarian. But as I had shown earlier, ideologies that one would not identify as collectivists also advance the notion that the pursue of particular interests can ultimately create an overall benefit and that this general good can be placed as a political goal of society, in other words, that the pursue of individual interests identifies with the pursue of overall good. Utilitarians talked about social utility as the greatest benefit for the greatest number. In general, almost all doctrines expect people to strive for achieving the greater good for all, the best interest for society, and that becomes the society's goal that everyone is compelled to support. Only the most extreme form of libertarianism would advocate for no other interest than personal selfish interest (that an oxymoron for sure), and that represents a very small minority.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
Actions by different agents who have no common goal in mind cannot possibly be coordinated. The outcomes will be random and unpredictable. I know of no social/political doctrine which champions random, unpredictable outcomes (except, perhaps, anarchism).
You're forgetting Adam Smith and the invisible hand of the market, which by a random conjunction of forces, creates a "natural" equilibrium, supposedly for the best interest of society.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
If these "collectivists" are calling CAS's "collectives" they are using the latter term non-standardly.
Where is that "standard" written in stone?
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
Heh. Nice try! No, imposing specific goals will not "take the CAS up a notch".
Who says "imposing"? Why couldn't they just be agreed upon?
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
It would be an attempt to transform it into a collective; it would no longer be a CAS.
No, it would be an attempt to transform unplanned collective action, which still works as a system, into planned collective action. Since a CAS might produce an undesired equilibrium, and in in this case the CAS is conformed by rational agents, those agents can get to know the joint effect of their actions and therefore learn to reorientate those actions to produce a different equilibrium.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
The chosen goals will never be common, the cooperation secured will be forced, and the collective will never be more efficient. The history of Marxist economies in the 20th century supplies incontrovertible evidence of that.
Interestingly, just exactly the same can be said of every political and economical doctrine of the 20th century, including free market ideologies, all of which imply a common social goal, the best interest of society, even if that goal is achieved by creating the overall conditions for each individual to pursue their own interest.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
No, in a general sense, collectives are mere classifications of sets according to common characteristics, they are collections of things.
No. A collective is indeed a collection, but not a "mere collection." It is a collection of persons engaged in a specific task or program.
As an abstract concept that it is, a collective is first a collection of things in general. And then one can reduce to collections of this and collections of others, such as collection of people that associate among themselves. These are indeed collectives, but these are not the only collections of people, and therefore not the only collectives.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
To the extent feminists, blacks, etc., are engaged in a common enterprise or pursuing a common agenda (such as working with or supporting the NAACP, NOW, etc., and their declared goals they constitute a collective. Women and blacks not sharing those goals or contributing to those efforts are not part of those collectives. Including them in those groups anyway would be arbitrary, presumptuous, and mistaken.
Collective simply implies an association of people by their common characteristics. Any given set of people is a collective and in political science is often used as term to identify any social formation, defined by common criteria. By definition, all sets are classifications, and all classifications are arbitrary. A common political agenda could be the criteria to define a set, but it could be any other common characteristic.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
No free trade environment, or more generally, a free market, exists today. But they have in the past. Today we can only say that an economy is "mostly free" or not free.
Free market is an oxymoron, it has never, nor it can ever exist.
GE Morton wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 11:34 pm
A free market, BTW, does not mean or imply "subject to no regulation."
Sure, but that only points to the fact that free market ideologists feel forced to recognize that there is a best interest for society, and that people should be compelled to submit to this best interest, an "imposition" called regulation.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Greta » November 21st, 2020, 5:57 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 9:24 pm
If, say, China tried to invade Australia, our local partisan fights would soon be forgotten and Australians would attend their shared interests, from their shared tax burden and the shared projects created with those monies.
Most of them would; not all. Only when the "meta-goal" I mentioned earlier --- everyone has an interest in satisfying his own interests --- is threatened will near-unanimity emerge.
Good enough, eh? I did not say Australia was a tight collective, just noting that nations can have, if nothing else, at least a few broad shared existential concerns. Agreement does not need to be "complete" in collectives any more than my family needed to stop fighting to be called a family.

Consensus is always a matter of majorities. You won't find absolute consensus anywhere so it's not important. We probably cannot even find unanimous agreement that computers were invented by Earthlings, let alone unanimity about relatively subtle policy distinctions.

As a matter of interest, what size group would you say is maximum to qualify as a "true collective" and is such a thing akin to a true Scotsman?

GE Morton wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 9:24 pm
Billionaires not contributing to tax revenue (Trump apparently did not pay a cent in taxes for a decade) is breaking the "societal glue" of shared investment apart, however. The sense of togetherness that once drew nations together is dissipating.
That "sense of togetherness," though felt by some, is largely imaginary --- wishful thinking.
That's a tad cynical for me. Yes, the masses have repeatedly been sold snake oil by those with power, but there were still some very broadly shared notions and ideals. The Moon landing, for instance. I was 10,000 miles from where that rocket launched, and seeing the craft land safely and then Neil Armstrong taking that first step were magic to me.

Sure, that was temporary, and these days many think it's all invented. But nothing is permanent. Large groups will constantly vary in their level and manner of integration, being inherently unstable due to the fact that total order is not only impossible, but even its attempt stultifies creativity and leads to stagnation.

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Re: individual vs collective

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 21st, 2020, 7:41 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:17 am

...We are discussing the behaviour of collectives, not the correct term for them.
GE Morton wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 3:12 pm
Well, it matters because the terms "collection" and "collective" denote two different things. As commonly used and understood the latter denotes a group of persons working cooperatively at some specific task or goal:

"Definition of collective (noun):
"1: a collective body
"2: a cooperative unit or organization"
You are turning a substantive discussion into a dispute over vocabulary, which is not getting us anywhere. Pair, family, team, tribe, society and collective are all human social groupings. They differ only in the number of members they have. But it isn't their differences that occupy us here, it's their commonalities. They are groups that are capable of working co-operatively together, and they often do, in the real world.

The clarity of this issue is further obscured by your belief that a human collective can only work co-operatively together as clones or hive-mates. This is your misunderstanding, presumably fuelled by your American antipathy toward collectivism. When humans work together, they don't do it in the same way that bees do. Each member of a human social group has something different to contribute to the group's efforts, so that (with luck) the end result is something more than the sum of its parts. A human social grouping that suppresses the individual prevents group-working, in the way that humans do it. It prevents the group from functioning as a group, in a sense that does not apply to bees or ants. The latter are clones, we humans are not.
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Re: individual vs collective

Post by GE Morton » November 21st, 2020, 12:02 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 7:41 am

You are turning a substantive discussion into a dispute over vocabulary, which is not getting us anywhere. Pair, family, team, tribe, society and collective are all human social groupings. They differ only in the number of members they have.
Oh, no. They are indeed all social groupings, but they differ from one another in several ways other than their numbers (that is why there are 6 terms there, not one). E.g., members of families and tribes have biological/kinship relationships. Teams are groups working cooperatively toward a common goal or task (they are collectives); their members need not have any kinship relationships. Families and tribes may also cooperate at times for some specific goal or purpose, but need not to qualify as families or tribes. When they do they are also "teams" and collectives. Members of societies have no kinship ties to most other members; neither are they all cooperating for some common task or goal. The only thing that qualifies them as members of a society is that they occupy a common territory with the other members and thus are in a position to interact with them.
But it isn't their differences that occupy us here, it's their commonalities. They are groups that are capable of working co-operatively together, and they often do, in the real world.
Er, no. All members of (modern, civilized) societies do not work cooperatively together "in the real world." Ever. At any given time numerous subsets of them will be working together on numerous different tasks, pursuing numerous different goals, many of which will be mutually antagonistic. Those subsets will thus be collectives, but the society as a whole is not one.
The clarity of this issue is further obscured by your belief that a human collective can only work co-operatively together as clones or hive-mates.
Nothing I've said suggests any such thing. A (human) collective is simply a group of people working cooperatively at a common task or toward a common goal. Nothing about that implies that they are clones, etc. What is the basis for that claim of yours?
When humans work together, they don't do it in the same way that bees do. Each member of a human social group has something different to contribute to the group's efforts, so that (with luck) the end result is something more than the sum of its parts.
Oh, I agree. But you're evading the point. What you say there is true of "human social groups" who are working cooperatively toward some common goal. But the issue here is whether societies are such groups, i.e., are collectives. They aren't.

And, yes, this is primarily a dispute about vocabulary. Until we agree on a definition of the noun "collective" we can't talk substantively about them, or decide whether societies satisfy that definition.

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