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Not to be confused with interconnectivity or interconnectedness.


Interdependence is a dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to, and sharing a common set of principles with, others. This concept differs distinctly from "dependence" in that an interdependent relationship implies that all participants are emotionally, economically, ecologically and or morally "interdependent." Some people advocate freedom or independence as a sort of ultimate good; others do the same with devotion to one's family, community, or society. Interdependence recognizes the truth in each position and weaves them together. Two states that cooperate with each other are said to be interdependent. It can also be defined as the interconnectedness and the reliance on one another socially, economically, environmentally and politically.

Uses of the term

Marx first used the term interdependence in the Communist Manifesto (1848) in describing the universal interdependence of nations in comparison to the old local and national seclusion of independence and self-sufficiency. Will Durant made one Declaration of Interdependence on April 8, 1944. Others have been written in the years since, and interest in the United Statesmarker has picked up in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Leaders as diverse as Mahatma Gandhi, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Stephen Covey have written and spoken at length about interdependence:

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.
William James, Great Men, Great Thoughts, and the Environment, Atlantic Monthly, October, 1880


Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. Without interrelation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality.
Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, March 21, 1929, p.
93


The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in all parts of the United States – a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer.
U.S.
President Franklin D.
Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, 1932


When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, Houghton Mifflin, 1911, Chapter 7


...for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.


Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.


Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won't be good leaders or team players. They're not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational reality.


Hence, international co-operation and solidarity and the relentless search for consensus become an absolute imperative. They are the only possible alternative for all nations, whose interdependence is being made increasingly manifest by the rapid development of production technology, of transport and communications, as well as by the overhanging threat of deterioration of the environment and exhaustion of natural resources. And what is one to say of the frightful accumulation of means of destruction in a world facing the no less frightful problems of hunger, disease and ignorance?
Federico Mayor, Address to the "Symposium 80" on International Cultural Relations: Bridges Across Frontiers, Bonn, 27 May 1980


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