Is Communitarianism Uniquely Asian? A Filipino's Perspective

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It is often claimed that the heavy influence of Western individualism is at the heart of the Philippines' many problems. Filipinos should therefore return to the Asian value of community-orientedness. This article questions whether there is in fact an "Asia" as a distinct cultural unity with values that differentiate it from the West. The concept of an "Asia" was invented in the West. "Community-orientedness" is equally fuzzy because "community" can mean different types of groups whose claims upon the individual may contradict each other. Still, various types of "community-orientedness" have been present both in the West and in the Philippines. Rather than look exclusively for "values", it may be better to study urban areas as social systems in order to identify problems in such systems.