LIVING COLLECTIVELY IN AN INDIVIDUALISTIC SOCIETY
The question is whether living by yourself means being lonely and clear of one's own finances. Swedish society becomes more expensive every day and people are forced to think and live more collectively.foto: cottonbro
created at: Wed Jun 17 2020| updated at:Mon Jan 17 2022
Sweden appears as one of the most individualistic societies in the world, where a person lives by himself, makes his own choices and can live freely without having to influence or be influenced by anyone in his/her family or vicinity. But the question is whether living by yourself means being lonely and clear of one's own finances. Swedish society becomes more expensive every day and people are forced to think and live more collectively. But what do you really gain most from living individually or collectively?
An individualistic society focuses on the individual being more important than the group. It is important for the individual to have their own opinions and make their own choices, where the group should not influence what you think or do in their life. For example, an individualistic society encourages one to go against the tide without being judged. A collectivist society, on the other hand, focuses on the well-being of the group and the most important thing is that the group together makes important decisions. What the individual in the group does or chooses affects the rest of the individuals in the same group.
How the economy in an individualistic or collectivist society works is usually influenced by the values that society has. Sweden, for example, lets the individual decide what will happen to one’s pension savings and which funds or bank accounts are best to save money. If one has invested their personal finances, it may seem like a freedom to be able to control where the money is made, but if one has not, it can be a nightmare to try to figure out which is the best savings account or how a pension saver at best way.
In terms of everyday costs such as rent, food and bills, it almost goes without saying: that with an individualistic society, you pay for everything yourself, but then avoid any debts or costs from one’s family. While in a collectivist society, one may pay more or less, depending on what the family situation looks like or what obligations exist.
In Sweden nowadays, more collective housing alternatives are emerging in larger cities to manage rent or share food costs as a student or move away from home for the first time. Going from a permeated individualistic society to a more collectivistic can be a challenge for many. All of a sudden, you have to adapt to people you don’t know and divide who buys toilet paper, dishwashing detergent and milk, and usually you only have one room you can call your own.
But what is actually most cost-effective? Perhaps it is obvious, if you share all costs, it will of course be cheaper in the long run, but at the same time you do not have to buy as much of everything when you live yourself. When it comes to renting, it can sometimes be expensive to live in a collective if you calculate based on what you get for the money, while if you rent a rental right yourself and get more housing for the money.
In the end, it is a personal trade-off, if you can imagine living with perhaps unknown people to save a thousand dollars a month, it can possibly lead to new friends and maybe a whole new small family. This is probably the ultimate when moving from home for the first time, studying or moving to a new city. But if you instead prefer the spaciousness of your own accommodation or that you have worked for a couple of years and know the city, then maybe living the best option yourself. Regardless, Sweden is moving towards a collectivist housing system, although society continues to be controlled individually.