The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Individualism

  • C. B. Macpherson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_809

Abstract

Individualism is social theory or ideology which assigns a higher moral value to the individual than to the community or society, and which consequently advocates leaving individuals free to act as they think most conducive to their self-interest. The term was also, as noted below, sometimes used in the 19th century as a name for an actual economic system. When so used, the term denoted the competitive market system which lets the direction of the economy be the unintended outcome of the decisions made by myriad individuals about the uses to which they will put their own labour and resources.

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. B. Macpherson
    • 1
  1. 1.