Multitude vs. People

"the people" would better be expressed with the word multitude.

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Multitude vs. People

When we say people we should keep in mind the notion of multitude which is more fitting the multitude of non-for profit organizations and reflects better the idea of plurality of opinion, genre, interests as they are spread among populations.


In an article called Multitude and principle of individuation, Paolo Vimo, explains very well that the notion of, the people , would better be expressed with the word multitude, as in multitude of people.


Globalization brings back to the forefront a good portion of the philosophical debate of the 17th century because globalization tends to dissolve the notion of “people” and enhances the notion of “multitude”.  People is a notion with a center exerting force towards itself.  It draws together what is called “people’s will”. The notion of “the people” mirrors the notion of “nation state”.  Where the word “people” tends towards unity, “multitude” pulls toward individuation. Multitude is plural, it pulls away from political unity. It does not sign pacts with a sovereign.  It shrills away from obedience. It is composed of many independently minded wills. Vimo shows that Hobbes found in multitude the greatest threat against the state. I paraphrase Hobbes writing in 1652 hat “Citizens represent the multitude when they rebel against the state”. On the other hand, explains Vimo, Spinoza saw in the multitude the roots of freedom. Since the 18th century, explains Paolo Vimo, the political existence of the multitude as multitude has been struck away from modernity’s horizon, not only by absolutist but also by Rousseau, by the liberal tradition and by socialists.

 Multitude et principe d’individuation, Paolo Virno, Extrait du numéro 7 de la revue Multitudes


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