Saturday, June 16, 2012

Be the First On Your Block to Reject Competition

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New World Notes News
Vol. 5, No. 24 --June 16, 2012

This week in New World Notes, radio program #224, June 19, 2012

Be the First On Your Block
to Reject Competition

In brief

Psychology researcher and educational theorist Alfie Kohn is in fine form in this vintage talk (ca. 1989). Kohn says that the problem with our culture is not that it is "too competitive." Rather, the scientific research shows that all competition is harmful and counterproductive. It leads away from excellence, not towards it. And it's bad for the soul.

So why is competition emphasized in America? Kohn (briefly) discusses how it reinforces existing structures of power in our society.

Don't confuse competition with conflict, Kohn says. Unlike competition, conflict is inevitable and sometimes good. Martin Luther King was right to challenge institutional racism and the power structure behind it. By the same token, trying to eliminate competiton puts the social reformers--yet again--in conflict with our society's power elite and the system they control.

Alfie Kohn

Notes, credits, & links

I've condensed Kohn's talk. The full-length original is available here. Thanks to Xenophrenia for making it available.

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Series overview:
Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.


Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)
  • June 26 -- Politics, Food, and Whatnot
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