Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Problems with Unhealthy Competition

Sewol Ferry tragedy continues to be an accident the Korean society does not want to forget. An article in the Kyeongyang Magazine: Competition is the Incurable Disease of the Country, visits the issue again. The writer is the head of a research institute attached to a University. He reminds us that we have signs of similar disasters in society. 

Heinrich's Law: in a workplace, for every one major injury there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries, this law, he says, is applicable to our situation. We continually see, he says, incidents and warnings of this in our society. As a member of the  OECD in its rankings,  we see warnings for the future. 

The numbers of suicides increase, births decrease, difficulties in finding  employment,  the intensity seen for college enrollment, the disparity between the rich and poor, etc.,  and he attributes this to the excessive competition in  society. He doesn't fault competition itself but what he sees as competition without a clear object, excessive, and competition for the sake of competition.

The country has come a long way since the Korean War. Competition has made us a strong economic country but with this continual running, and blind competition the individual, family and the country is in  danger of 'sinking'. It is like the cancer cells in our body that continue to spread until we cry out seeing the results. We are going so fast  we do not have the time to reflect on what we are doing. The reasoning behind competition makes us egotists; we don't want to fall behind, and when we fail all comes to an end. Many parents teach the children if it is not hurting you, no need to be concerned.  

Young people  for the past six years in the ratings of the OECD  for happiness, Korea continues to be the lowest of the 23 countries. The symptoms and warnings from the Sewol tragedy have to be faced by the citizens. (Sewol the word brings to mind to Korean citizens the human errors, the incompetence, corruption, cowardice, the failure of education and other aspects of society that allowed the death of so many young people when the Sewol Ferry sank. )Why are the young people so unhappy? The young do not have time to dream, and young couples are afraid to have children. He wants us to face the questions that the Sewol tragedy brings to our attention. 

The educational system is unhealthy. Parents leave the country for the education of their children or are separated from their  parents in the early years of education all because, he says, competition.  He lists the qualities that are desired by the parents of the middle class  published by Oxford University. First, fair play, second, to follow one's convictions, third,  not to act self-righteously, fourth, support the weak and confront the strong, fifth, to resolutely fight against immorality, dissatisfaction and lawlessness. These are far from what he says are the aims of our Korean parents: success and money.

Why do children have to study? How are they to live? What are they to do? These are all questions that parents have to consider and make part of their dream for their children. If it is the happiness of the children, they want, then parents have to take this into account in the way they act and speak. In the society we have made, the writer concludes, this way  of acting will be difficult because one has to overcome what we have seen and learned.

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