Self-Reliance Versus the Collective

Psychologist Alan Ingham ran an interesting experiment to determine the difference of effort between groups of people compared to that of individuals:

The truth, though, is we tend to put in less effort in a group because we know our efforts will be pooled. If you know you aren’t being judged as individuals, your instinct is to fade into the background.

To prove this, psychologist Alan Ingham had people put on a blindfold and grab hold of a rope. The rope was attached to a contraption that simulated the resistance of an opposing team.

The subjects were told other people were also holding the rope on their side, and he measured their effort.

Then, he told them they would be pulling alone, and again he measured their effort. They were alone both times, but when they thought they were in a group, they pulled on average 18 per cent less strenuously.

This phenomenon has been observed in every possible situation involving group effort. Communal farms always produce less than individually-owned farms.

Self-reliance versus collective effort, I’ll always take the first. Call me selfish, but even the military relies on judging individuals on personal effort. Did the private, seaman meet the job he was assigned? The mission requires everyone to be part of a team, but to accomplish the group goals, individual actions must triumph. Communalism or collectivism is a recipe for failure. The slackers can blend into the background and not worry about ramifications. As for the mediocre performers, there are no consequences to their lack of talent. In fact, very often they rise in leadership. Simply, they’ve avoided having to actually produce real results and they can focus on self-promotion with all their free time not working. Think any backwater, tinpot dictator. Do I need to name names?