July 11, 2016

Competition and Cheating Are The Problem, Not The Solution

Only through cooperation will we build a more beautiful world.

Show me a competition and I'll show you cheating. At all levels.

Now consider that our lives have been set up to be one great competition. Adults cheat. Kids see adults cheating. Kids cheat. Everyone is in a deadly serious situation that is sold as "survival of the fittest".

But the fittest for what? Why, for cheating, of course.

From the moment we are born we are unwitting players in The Game Of Life. I believe a more accurate name would be The Game Of Death, because if you are not good at playing this game, death is often the result. Those that survive, the 'winners' in other words, need to be ruthless, mean and selfish in order to work the system to their benefit.

George Monbiot describes this inhuman state of affairs that goes against everything I know about human nature, and is backed up by personal experience.

"Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency.  
Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty.  
Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers.  
Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve."

Because our dominant world view is one of competition and winning at all costs, it is also one that involves cheating. A lot of cheating. It isn't even about the game any more. Now the whole game is to see who can cheat the most effectively. Organizations founded to prevent cheating are ineffective in stopping it, and are themselves engaged in cheating.

When our leaders and the police routinely cheat, where is one to turn? If we play by the rules that they expect the little people to play by, how can we build a better system based on cooperation and compassion? Or do we have to cheat along with the rest of them?

No.  If competition and cheating are the problem, then honest, sincere cooperation is the answer. There is no reason to cheat when everyone is a winner. Let's start there.

The way past our currently collapsing competitive world view is to be a witness to the self-imposed implosion of neoliberalism, and be prepared to help build "the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible" once the dust settles (as Charles Eisenstien writes about in his highly recommended book of that title).

In preparation, we can turn our collective powers toward imagining what this more beautiful world might look like. We can begin manifesting right now, right where we are at. No waiting necessary.

We can also start living our imagined better world right now. Why wait for collapse, and everyone else to catch up? It is joyful and nice to model cooperation in every day situations when others expect a no-holds-barred competition all the time.

Let's take John Lennon's invitation and Imagine (the song was the most popular of his post-Beatles musical career, and for a good reason). Go ahead - take a moment. What does your more beautiful world look like?


  1. Anonymous7/11/2016

    The neo liberal dream is to have an absolute free market. Inspired by Ayn Rand the free market economy would reach complete efficiency, no capital would be wasted and money would be utilized by the market. This is the myth they tell, if they believed it then they would have to let the bank's go down. There is moral hazard for the poor, but not the wealthy. The mainstream pay for the health, education and transport systems while the super rich drain away the money.
    If the market was efficient then why do Microsoft make inferior products to the open source equivalents like Linux.
    Money is supposed to trickle down, but seems to be pumped out to tax havens. For all the profiteering the environment bears the cost. It's easy to make profit such as making lots of stuff and poison the environment. Feed herbivores animal products and then sell drugs that don't work, or best of all sell escapism.

    1. To this day there was no well working economy system. Every economy system humankind created did end in crisis. Economy isn't even science so no one knows what will happen. Central bankers don't know anything - they do something for years with some goal in mind but the result is opposite. If I was working like that as engineer they would fire me from work. In finances/banks you can tell and do any stupidity and get away with it for decades.


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