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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY    AND    THE   INDIVIDUAL
while others are punished for shortcomings, are a
revival of piece-work systems against which trade
unions have vigorously and successfully campaigned.
I have no doubt that these systems have in Russia
the merits formerly claimed by capitalists, and the
demerits emphasized by trade unions. As a solution
of the psychological problem they are certainly in-
adequate.
But although competition, in many forms, is
gravely objectionable, it has, I think, an essential
part to play in the promotion of necessary effort, and
in some spheres affords a comparatively harmless
outlet for the kind of impulses that might otherwise
lead to war. No one would advocate the abolition of
competition in games. If two hitherto rival football
teams, under the influence of brotherly love, decided
to co-operate in placing the football first beyond one
goal and then beyond the other, no one's happiness
would be increased. There is no reason why the zest
derived from competition should be confined to
athletics. Emulation between teams or localities or
organizations can be a useful incentive. But if
competition is not to become ruthless and harmful,
the penalty for failure must not be disaster, as in war,
or starvation, as in unregulated economic competi-
tion, but only loss of glory. Football would not be a
desirable sport if defeated teams were put to death
or left to starve.
In Britain, in recent years, a gallant attempt has
been made to appeal to the sense of duty. Austerity
72