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COMPETITION AND VIOLENCE

by Gerry McCarthy
Reflecting on the issue of competition recently, I thought of the Gore Vidal syndrome. "Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies," he said. Delivered in a certain setting, this may prompt a few laughs. But Vidal is saying something both truthful and depressing.
     I was drawn to the subject of competition by two recent occurrences. First: A few weeks ago, the Governor of the Bank of Canada David Dodge remarked that competitiveness was paramount for all sectors of the economy. He wasn’t just saying competition was an economic virtue. He was approaching it like a religious sacrament.
     Second: In a recent conversation I had with Jesuit priest John Dear, he offered a sharp critique of North American culture. "In the U.S. culture you’re only somebody if you have a lot of money and possessions," he said. "This is what’s at the heart of violence."

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