Hive civilization or individualism

Some science fiction stories describe hive type civilization.  Hive species have certain advantages but they cannot become a technological civilization, thus reducing drastically their chances to become dominant species, not to say spacefarers.

A hive has the advantage of an absolute ruler. Thus, it’s actions as a group are coherent and disputes never get in the way of a task.  Individualism tends to get in the way of accomplishing group tasks. But exactly the centralized decision making model is the main limitation of such a civilization.  There is no competition, thus progress is slow, adaptability is reduced.

A hive civilization could dominate a continent or even a planet without the help of very advanced tools. This very domination will inhibit progress. It’s easier to inhibit population growth when you can control every individual of the specie. Population growth is the main drive of expansion.

At the other extreme, purely individualistical civilization cannot form. The lack of cooperation takes care of this part. A civilization requires cooperation and specialization in order to progress.

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