Instead of the group being primary, whether a family, caste or community, the individual becomes a microcosm of the society as a whole, with individual rights and duties. He or she becomes a legal, political, religious and economic entity in his or her own right, not merely insofar as he or she is a member of a wider group. This atomistic system is one where wider ties of blood and territory are weak and integration is through money, citizenship, paper, law and sentiment. People, in Marx’s ironic words, have been ‘set free’, not only in relation to the market, but also in relation to God and the State.
Sarah Kliff on the Big Questions
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