Title

"Community Interested" Individuals

Authors

Ryan Kluthe

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

I have been working with the Youth Leadership Council of Highland Park since February of 2003, a community service organization composed of 13 teens. They have joined this organization without any individual incentive, which goes against economist Mancur Olsen?s theory that states a group will not organize ?unless there is coercion or some other special device to make individuals act in their common interest.? He believes that the ?customary view that groups of individuals with common interests tend to further those common interests appears to have little if any merit.? My observations contradict these statements because these teens have dedicated hundreds of hours to community projects such as a Haunted House for kids on Halloween, reading stories to kids on Cesar Chavez Day, planting trees in a community garden, and lobbying the city for a skate park in Highland Park, even though most of the group does not skate. Although Olsen?s theory is applicable to many situations, he seems to overlook that there are different types of individuals rather than just ?self interested individuals.? I call the type of individuals that work with the Youth Leadership Council in Highland Park ?community interested? individuals that are not ?irrational? because they choose to work for their community but noble, ambitious youth who think that if the community ?work[ed] together they could create a Utopia.? Footnotes: Mancur Olsen, The Logic of Collective Action, pg 2, 1977. Olsen, pg 2 Quote from Joseph Loza, a member of the YLC for over a year. Link to PowerPoint? presentation

Advisor

J. Lin

Department

sociology

Support

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Grant

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