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The book reviewed at the link below became my bible as i wondered and worried about competitiveness and inequality in our society.  Alfie Kohn's 1986 book does not address inequality but the implications for me were clear.  If one of the outcomes of competition is the division of life into winners and losers, and the process of creating this outcome has so many dangers and so few benefits, doesn't that suggest that inequality itself is a process and state with many dangers and few benefits?


"Kohn quotes the late anthropologist Jules Henry who tells a story of an episode repeated daily in classrooms throughout the world. Boris is unable to solve an arithmetic problem. The teacher asks him to think harder while the rest of the class responds with a forest of waving hands and much sighing. Finally Peggy is called upon and proudly delivers the correct solution. 'Thus Boris' failure has made it possible for Peggy to succeed; his depression is the price of her exhilaration; his misery the occasion of her rejoicing ... To a Zuni, Hopi, or Dakota Indian, Peggy's performance would seem cruel beyond belief.'"  --from the review below.

No contest: the case against competition, by Alfie Kohn (book review ), Share International Archives

Comments

amaebi
Apr. 17th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
I don't know whether I've thanked you yet for introducing me to Kohn-- even if so, it bears repetition!
bobby1933
Apr. 17th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
You are so welcome!

People might ask, What is Peggy (or the other students) supposed to do? The Hopi answer, of course, is that they should maintain silence in solidarity with Boris. This is why Indian children are regarded as stupid.

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