Structural comments by Bertrand Russell

This passage is taken from Portraits from Memory by Bertrand Russell, published in 1953. He is reflecting on a change in societal structure since John Stuart Mills wrote his famous treaty On Liberty which was published almost one hundred years earlier in 1859.

What has changed the situation since Mill’s day is, as I remarked before, the great increase of organization. Every organization is a combination of individuals for a purpose; and, if this purpose is to be achieved, it requires a certain subordination of the individuals to the whole. If the purpose is one in which all the individuals feel a keen interest, and if the executive of the organization commands confidence, the sacrifice of liberty may be very small. But if the purpose for which the organization exists inspires only its executive, to which the other members submit for extraneous reasons, the loss of liberty involved may grow until it becomes almost total. The larger the organization, the greater becomes the gap in power between those at the top and those at the bottom, and the more likelihood there is of oppression. The modern world, for technical reasons, is very much more organized than the world of a hundred years ago: there are very many fewer acts which a man does simply from his own impulse, and very many more which he is compelled or induced to perform by some authority.

How about today? Are we more individualistic and atomized? Or associational and organized?