Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Advantage

How might we maintain our advantage as we move forward?

It's an interesting question.
US Border Patrol agent looks over Tijuana, Mexico,
along the old wall at the US-Mexico border at the
base of a hill in San Diego, California.
(AP Photo / Gregory Bull)



In conversation with a sociology professor, we were wandering through the issue of the border and the extraordinary inequality it illustrates.  Those on the far side have little hope of achieving the level of opportunity they see just a short distance away.

Given the chance, the professor proposed, we should help, but perhaps only if we can avoid any loss, only if we can maintain our advantage.

Why would that be the condition required before we actually do something that helps?

If our kids were in a bind, we'd help.  If it was schooling, or if it was healthcare or food or shelter or safety, we're all in, regardless of the cost.  We'll help carry their burden.  But it's not our kids.  Or our country.

Do we need the advantage, though?  The millions who live in deprivation are not our enemies.  The ones who oppress them, however ... they're the problem.

When you think about it, that's always been the trouble both inside and between nations including our own.  Those who rule emerge from the rise of power and influence among the elite, the wealthy and influential.  Governments and industry tend to merge into a competitive creature whose goal is continuing advantage.  That's their definition of 'good', is it not; e.g, competitive advantage, economic advantage, military advantage, relational advantage, those are the 'good' outcomes.  Anything wrong there?

Today's political rhetoric illustrates the point rather well.  There are values that should perhaps be added to the equation.