Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human. Everything is produced by society, so everything and everybody should be controlled by and/or belong to society, which in practical terms is the government. Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism in human nature (in the same way high context culture exists as the reverse of low context culture). Collectivist orientations stress the importance of cohesion within social groups (such as an "in-group", in what specific context it is defined) and in some cases, the priority of group goals over individual goals. Collectivists often focus on community, society, nation or country. The government is seen as the primary means toward achieving true freedom and justice. Thus they believe that the more power the government has, the more empowered the people are. It has been used as an element in many different and diverse types of government and political, economic and educational philosophies throughout history and most human societies in practice contain elements of both individualism and collectivism. Some examples of collectivist cultures include Pakistan, India and Japan.
Collectivism can be divided into horizontal (or egalitarian) collectivism in which government typically owns the means of production (which necessarily includes the people themselves) e.g. socialism, communism andvertical (or hierarchical) collectivism in which private property is tolerated so long as it serves the State e.g. fascism. Horizontal collectivism stresses collective decision-making among equal individuals, and is thus usually based on decentralization and egalitarianism. In practice however, the masses are not considered intelligent or informed enough to accept collectivization, so a Vanguard of educated and wise people must have wide powers to protect the leadership and polices from pressure. Vertical collectivism is based on hierarchical structures of power and on moral and cultural conformity, and is therefore based on centralization and hierarchy. In all types of collectivism, leadership and policies cannot be subject to a popular mandate, because when the economy suffers setbacks, the people might vote for people who would undermine the collective by pushing for individual liberties instead. A cooperative enterprise would be an example of privately owned and operated horizontal collective, but as it is voluntary would be competing with companies that operate with profit-oriented structures, they would need to make sure to offer goods and services that consumers would want and at competitive prices. Amilitary hierarchy would be an example of vertical collectivism.