Re: seeking refs on comparative work

John McCreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Sat, 3 Aug 1996 00:26:54 +0900

>We are not living in a world in which we have the option of competition or
>no competition. We are living in a world in which we have the option of
>competition on an individual basis, or a competition between ethnic groups.
>Best wishes. R. Snower

Sorry Robert, it just ain't so. Speaking as an informant who works for one
of the world's largest advertising agencies (No. 4, billings around US$ 5
billion/ year), I have to note that in our industry and the industries we
service, we compete as corporations whose management is frequently
multiethnic on both a group and personal level. The most frequently heard
label in the way high-level corporate culture describes competition is the
"team," and successful players are rarely isolated individualists or
hung-up on ethnic identity.

This statement is not intended to deny that there is both individual and
ethnic competition in the world in which we live. But these alternatives
are far from being the only games in town.

Among the enduring accomplishments of anthropology is the demonstration
that there is a quite extraordinary range of ways to organize human
societies, but neither the pure market of isolated individuals nor the pure
collective of people who move in lock-step to the same programming is among
them. To assert that our choice is one or the other is ideological fantasy;
Darwin, that fine observer of details, would not approve.

John McCreery
3-206 Mitsusawa HT, 25-2 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220, JAPAN

"And the Lord said unto Cyrus, 'Shall the clay say to him who moldest it,
what makest thou? Let the potsherd of the earth speak to the potsherd of
the earth." --An anthropologist's credo