[OPE] Working Overtime Is Linked to Depression, Anxiety

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Mon Jun 23 2008 - 07:13:47 EDT


I'm sympathetic to your argument, just very reluctant to downplay the moral responsibility people carry for their own actions, as active moral subjects. If that is conservative, so be it.

On a previous occasion I already indicated my view of one of the root problems in modern society: the fact, that a culture has come into being where people are asked to take responsibility for things that they practically cannot take responsibility for, while being practically unable to take responsibility for things that they should take responsibility for - the result being a sense of powerlessness to affect things. It is one thing if adolescent kids feel that way, but another if a whole society begins to live that way. It is a sort of social malaise which leads to the fudging of reponsibilities, and endless political controversy in which blame is shifted from A to B - all of which becomes especially confusing if consensual social values are lacking, and mutual understandings have to be constantly negotiated within a framework of competition for power. Yet it does not absolve anyone from the need to take responsibility for the things that they can, and fairly assess what can be credited to oneself and to others. I am working on and off on an interdisciplinary article on this subject. You might like to consider meantime this significant extract from John McMurtry's ideological survey, "How Competition Goes Wrong". (Journal of Applied Philosophy, 8(2): 200-210, 1991):

"The generating inner core of disagreements about competition is identified by the following set of exactly opposed claims.

- Contradiction 1. On the one hand, it is held that competition promotes
excellence, stimulating participants into better and better performances by their
trying to surpass each other. On the other hand, it is held that competition
encourages apathy and mediocrity by the fear of failure it generates, which
keeps people from participating, or doing as well as they can.

- Contradiction 2. On the one hand, it is claimed that competition promotes
socialisation and moral development by the lessons of fairness and co-operation
it teaches in situations of conflict and stress. On the other hand, it is claimed
that competition promotes systematic selfishness and moral insensitivity by its
overriding requirement to seek to win at others' cost.

- Contradiction 3. On the one hand, competition, is commended as a structure of
equal opportunity for all where no-one is allowed a special advantage. On the
other hand, competition is condemned as a structure of eliminative selection
that ultimately leads to monopoly by a dominant elite.

- Contradiction 4. On the one hand, it is believed that competition encourages
diversity by its play of opposing forces in creative contention. On the other
hand it is held that competition by its nature imposes uniformity by the
sameness of conditions, standards, means and goals it requires.

- Contradiction 5. On the one hand, it is supposed that competition provides the
acid test of achievement in the crucible of trial against others. On the other
hand, it is claimed that competition produces distorted and misleading results by
the rule-bending, cheating, intimidation and so on it enjoins by its imperative
of victory before all else.

These contradictory understandings of competition pose deep conflicts of meaning
and value which run to the heart of the human condition. We cannot resolve them
easily, but we can understand them better if we do not take one side or the other, as is
invariably done , but instead recognise that competition can admit of opposed general


ope mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Jun 30 2008 - 00:00:16 EDT