Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human being.
Asians tend to be more reticent and less willing to express their feelings. Individualism implies that (a) creating and maintaining a positive sense of self a basic human endeavor, (b) feeling good about oneself, personal success, and having many unique or distinctive personal attitudes and opinions are valued, and (c) attainment of one’s personal goals are important sources of well-being and life satisfaction. By contrast, collectivism implies that (a) group membership is a central aspect of identity (b) valued personal traits reflect the goals of collectivism, such as sacrifice for the common good and maintaining harmonious relationships with close others, and (c) life satisfaction derives from successfully carrying out social roles and obligations and avoiding failures in these domains.
Collectivism believes in subjugation of the individual to a group which may be family, tribe, society, party or a state. Individual has to sacrifice for the collective good of the people. The proponents of collectivism consider their stand to be superior to those of individualists as they are morally superior thinking of the collective good of the group or the society.
China has long been a family-run country. It has also been, and still is, primarily a rural nation. These two institutions, the family and the farm, are the core of China. Both the family and a rural environment are collectivist in nature. They depend on working together and aiming for harmony.
Individualism is a core value of many Western societies. In the United States, for example, the idea that people should be free to explore their individuality and to express their true selves is fundamental to the culture.
In the Western World since Alexander the Great and Aristotle Individualism got out of control (the Aristotelian Paradigm). Brilliancy in skill combined with lack of social cohesion. Greedy individuals denied family ties, family feeling was more and more pushed away by Individual Greed. In the 21st century restoring family feeling (in a wider sense: herd) is the challenge for the young worldwide.
In western conceptualizations: agency and separateness are the two dimensions of autonomy inherent (Kagitcibasi, 1996). Autonomy is often construed as separateness from others. Even though autonomy does not necessarily imply distancing oneself from others, such a meaning is commonly attributed to it. It is seen to result from a separation-individuation process and to reflect the differentiation of the self from "the other". Independence and separateness appear as prerequisites for autonomy. From such a perspective, therefore, an interdependent self construal would exclude autonomy (Kagitcibasi, 1996, p.180). Collectivism is supposed to entail both subordination of one's own self to the group and emotional closeness or interdependence.
Individualists try to have the greatest freedom of action and thought. They choose their own goals and make their own decisions, deciding that they don’t have to be influenced by other people.
Social differentiation: Individualists want to avoid conformity, and focus more on distinguishing themselves from others than on their resemblance with them. So they prefer to see themselves as unique and different from other people rather than similar to them.
The mainstream stereotype of an individualist is someone who is selfish and who has no desire at all to participate in the community. The contrasting view of a collectivist is apparently someone who cares about the tribe as a whole, so much so that they are willing to sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of the tribe. While this may be what these names have come to represent in our culture, and the stereotypes may be true in some cases, these definitions are overlooking the impact that these philosophies have on the real world and the realm of politics.
The United States from its very origins was indicative of an autonomous people. The emigrants from Europe were either religious dissenters or the impoverished who were brave enough to set out for a completely unknown and potentially dangerous new land. By their very nature they were independent. The settlers of the West paralleled the original colonists in pragmatism and more importantly in their self-reliance.