Friday, April 29, 2016

All's fair in love and football.

Play to win.
  Winning is good.
    That's competition.

As long as you don't underinflate the ball or have too many guys on the field ... you know how it works; it's fair, and losing is just a disappointment.  No big deal; nobody dies.

But what if they did?  What if life depended on winning the game?

What if all the players on the winning team got jobs and homes in a nice neighborhood, and what if the losers never got a fulltime job or a decent place to live ... would that still be fair? Depends on the rules, doesn't it.  If the rules say it's okay, well, that's fair.  That's the way it works.

Ever wonder about competition?  It's a centerpiece in our economy and culture, but sometimes it starts doing damage.  And people die.

It two farmers sell corn competitively, the lower priced stuff will sell first.  That's fair.
But what if one farmer got subsidies and the other one didn't?    That's NAFTA, and more than a million Mexican family farms went broke; they couldn't compete.  The families abandoned their homes and migrated elsewhere, usually to the cities, looking for work and survival.  It hasn't gone well.

In a small country near the equator with rich soil and good rain, people struggle for food because competition has dedicated their land to producing mostly exports, and competitive fishing has depleted their territorial waters.  Foreigners own much of their land, and the income generated by productivity goes to corporations outside the country.

So then, playing by the rules, is that good enough?

International finance and trade are troublesome today.  Since about 1980, business competition has escalated radically in the pursuit of profit to the detriment of both employees and customers.  When it crosses country boundaries, it's even more volatile. At the core, it's a competition for resource extraction and profit by corporations that are bigger than countries.  Unintended consequences happen on a large scale and continuously.    

One example among many, national attempts (World Bank) (Vox.Eu) at dealing with price spikes in the real food markets do as much harm as good.  They're trying to minimize the impact of price fluctuations on the poor, but the folks at the bottom of the income ladder are the ones who are the most adversely affected by the results, of course.

Do your own inquiry.

Samantha Powers, before she was nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., asserted that "we're neither the shining example, or even competent meddlers.  It's going to take a generation or so to reclaim American exceptionalism..."  A generation?  Or do we perhaps need a better goal and a better plan.

As things change which they must, what might we do as individuals?  There are plenty of opportunities to make a difference, are there not?

You might appreciate Humanomics 101
All are created equal, but few are treated equally.

If we're to love one another, can we do this degree of competition?

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