The Morality of Competition – Frederick. M. Gordon

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Competition, is it good or bad for us? Frederick. M. Gordon’s article pertains to this concept of competition and how it affects us in daily life. The question is answered in the first paragraph as a definite ‘bad’ as many factors hamper us due to competition while competition is still not always bad, or so the article says. In this short review, I will summarise the main points and key words from the article while also writing my application and implementation of the article’s moral ideas.

Competition is everywhere, and the article first highlights this with a married couple; the man is a, just made unemployed, carpenter. The bills need paying and his wife knows she has to help, although she is just the housewife. She decides to become a carpenter herself. The competition has started; she has not only become the breadwinner but also a rival to her husband’s wood skills to which her skills thus surpass by the end of her carpentry course at college. The husband has to only grudgingly accept it, but he does not accept it well, as he becomes a drinker and starts getting angry and eventually moves out.

The reader is asked what they think of the story. Many factors are working for the lady while the man has lost. She has shown talent and determination. She has become the one who may be taking over the role to protect her family. The sad aspect is that she was competing against him. The husband did not take it kindly and felt his superior position was being challenged.

The author then takes us on a moral path to show the opposing views that have arisen. From reading the story you may side with the lady, but as the author mentions the man may well commit suicide. So, who side would you be on then? This man dragged down to the depths where he felt so worthless. This now gets deeper into the moral dilemma of competition.

The question now turns to rivalry and how it affects each person. The example the author gives involves Shakespeare and Marlowe.  Shakespeare weary of Marlowe’s writing wrote his own comparable style of writing to challenge his rival. This example shows one can raise his level of competition to exceed the other, but what if he never did that? The article mentions that this may fill anyone with anger.

The morality the author mentions is, is competition won by doing or making the other do worse?

So, here lies the answer, or so the author tries to explain, that research shows that ‘egalitarian cooperation’ is a superior system to ‘competiveness’.  Competitiveness is seen in the gap that is created. For example, countries have so much to lose, the loss is huge, so friendly rivalries disappear. The threat to their identity creates a huge state of arousal. The author states that research shows that there should be ‘appropriate competition’ which is a good as cooperation.

Cooperation is highlighted next by the ‘Hawthorne Effect’. It is a simple idea that alleviates competitiveness by rewarding staff, as the article states.  It was noticed that once the bosses recognised their workers and rewarded them for their work, the competition was less thought about and more was thought about cooperation. This would then lead to a ‘mutual concern’. The egalitarian reward system gave high morale and group identity. This is how the researchers felt as their findings led to a radical egalitarianism and concluded competition was bad.

The author sums up to state that competition is not on the whole bad. It can change where talent is shown which highlights someone’s weakness.  The American system is mentioned as it serves to allow those people who have more skill and competition to succeed and not just in positions of tyranny and power.

Here is the warning and the moral dilemma the author highlights, and it involves socialism as a system that tried to make all people equal. Did it work? But, also has competitiveness stopped corruption, social problems? The author says he thinks that the research completed so far still has not answered these questions.

As a moral exercise that highlights competition and cooperation, we only need to look at schools. In all aspects of a school, they are organised in order for the development of relationships between and among students, staff, and the community. This is where cooperation and collaboration with the students are emphasized over competition. They have to learn values such as fairness, respect, and honesty which are part of everyday lessons in and out of the classroom. Any school is a caring community of learners in which there is a bond connecting the students, the staff, and the school while not forgetting the local community. Social, moral, and emotional learning is emphasized as much as academic learning. Students should be given ample opportunities to practice moral behavior through activities that show cooperation. Hopefully, this essay goes some way to demonstrate these facts.

(828 Words)

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