Co-operation, not competition

@GreenMoo (11842)
February 24, 2011 11:51am CST
From the earliest age we are encouraged to compete with each other. We have exams at school where we are encouraged to be 'top of the class', we have races and sports event where an individual or team 'wins', as we get older we compete for jobs, we compete with our colleagues for promotions, we even compete with our neighbours and contemporaries over who has the best standard of living, the best car, the best garden, the best 'stuff'. But as we head towards a world where fossil fuels become less available, it would seem that community will become increasingly important. It's very difficult for one person to be entirely self sufficient, but it becomes easier if a community can split the work between them and share knowledge and skills. So the shift is towards co-operation rather than competition. Can you think of any examples where your community co-operates to make life better or easier for those involved? Or any instances where it ought?
5 responses
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
26 Feb 11
My neighbors plow our driveway without us paying them despite the cost of gas. Many funds are being cut. If a program is important, people are having fundraisers to make up the difference. Volunteers are drying up. We used to have a fully volunteer fire fighting and EMT squad, now the EMTs are paid. Which is better, volunteers go to other towns and work, so do the firefighters. Takes forever to get help, but not now. Our PTAs do lots of cooperative stuff. The VFW makes money to buy schools dictionaries. We have many disaster coordinators that worktogether. We found that out during the ice storm. Red Cross, fire dept, FEMA, etc.
@GreenMoo (11842)
26 Feb 11
I don't know what EMT, PTA, VFW or FEMA mean! But it sounds like you have very sympathetic neighbours, and doing little jobs like that for each other really fosters community.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
27 Feb 11
EMT= emergency medical technition=people who take care of you in an ambulance=first responders for medical emergencies PTA= Parent-Teacher Association= parents and teachers who have meetings to decide on funraisers to provide money for things the school has no money for, examples: money for gas and bus drivers for trips, money to have traveling theater group come and put on a performance for all the classes, money to send students to a parade who are fantastic musicians, etc. VFW=Veterans of Foreign Wars, must husband is one, he was in the Gulf War, any soldier who was in a war on foreign (not USA) soil FEMA=Federal Emergency Management Agency-called out during declared disasters, also ones who train others for such disasters, FEMA came here during our ice storm, also called out during floods, huricanes, tornadoes, tsunamies, etc. All of the above work cooperatively in the USA, competitively would be the ones that are hired and must pass tests. I was a FEMA volunteer, my husband is VFW.
@GreenMoo (11842)
28 Feb 11
Thanks for the translations! I've just realised that I of course did know PTA as there was one at my school many moons ago, and EMT I should have been able to guess.
@p1kef1sh (45640)
28 Feb 11
I administer some alms houses, a Christian foundation. They call themselves a community and in terms of personal support they certainly are. However, all is not always sweetnes and light and there are some characters that can be overpowering. In the main though they look out for each other, nurse them when they are unwell, shop and arrange community outings etc. We are also developing a thriving kitchen garden and I would love to start a small scale pig or sheep unit on 8 acres of land that we let out for 6 months of the year to a farmer as grazing land. But that would require younger people to run and as the average age is about 75 we might struggle. I quite fancy the idea of chickens too; but there are those that will complain about rats etc.
@GreenMoo (11842)
28 Feb 11
Win them over with the lure of lovely fresh eggs and endless amounts of entertainment. The chickens could also be utilised as dual cultivator fertilisers in a movable ark. My chickens actually go after and kill rats if they see them. Enough reasons? There are those that will complain about anything. Community organisations linked to the church seem to be becoming a fairly consistent theme in this discussion. So could it be said that the breakdown of the church is linked to breakdown of a sense of community, do you think?
@p1kef1sh (45640)
28 Feb 11
Some might say that. I certainly think that the relentless pursuit of the individual has created a relatively unconcerned society that looks out for itself and not each other. Church/religion tends to be based and in fact can only really function on a community basis. Bizarrely perhaps, I partially blame the internal combustion engine for many of society's ills. Once upon a time we were barely mobile and had to integrate better. When the car came along people discovered that they were much more mobile and started to widen their horizons and experience. We became a much more transient society, dipping in an out at will. Families grew apart and the structure of society changed. Conversely, travel brought many benefits too. Like food distribution, improved industry and markets. Neither of us are where our families originated from and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that our children will move on again. If they can afford the petrol!
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 May 11
After months of no net again, I come back to discover that I´ve got responses that really did deserve an answer! But not now ... It´s good to be back :-)
@Lore2009 (7389)
• United States
25 Feb 11
I think even getting to know one another in our community can prevent danger and create security. I feel if we are all each other's opponents, we will never trust each other.
@GreenMoo (11842)
25 Feb 11
I think you have gone right to the heart of the matter in just a few words. Although the media is full of stories of terrible people, most people are perfectly decent and trustworthy and deserve to be given the opportunity to prove themselves so. I'm not suggesting we call in the next man we see on the street to babysit or caretake our house, but just making stronger links with the people we live amongst would enhance our lives incredibly.
@Lore2009 (7389)
• United States
26 Feb 11
Yes, spread the love.
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
24 Feb 11
I believe there are situations where we should help each other, and situations where we should not. I personally do not agree with helping someone who does not want to help themselves. Take our welfare system for instance. Now I know there are a lot of people who have trouble getting by from month to month. There are many people who are doing their best, but cannot make ends meet for whatever reasons. I am glad there is a welfare system in place to help the less fortunate. However, there are also people out there who would take advantage of the welfare system. There are people who earn many illegally, or "under the table" (wages are not reported to the IRS). Since these people do not have tracable income, they will apply for welfare or food stamps and get free money from the government even though they don't need it. I remember awhile back a famous rap star publically and proudly announced that he was recieving food stamps.. even though he probably made millions of dollars in record sales. My husband told me that in the "ghetto" areas of the city (he used to work on the city's south side, which is considered the ghetto around here, so he knew this from his customers), churches and other such places will offer seminars and lectures on how to fool the government into giving you more money than you deserve. Things like registering your vehicle in someone else's name so that welfare cannot count your vehicle as an asset, or lying about who actually lives with you and who doesn't. As a matter of fact, my mother did this for years. When I was 16 and working, they were going to lower her food stamps because of my income. So she stated that I moved out. Then, when I was 18, still living at home, and trying to raise my own child, I could not get food stamps for myself, because if I'd stated that I lived there she could have been arrested for welfare fraud. Many people (even those deserving) who are on the welfare system also do not make any attempts to work towards getting off the system. If they get a job they'll lose their welfare money, so getting a job isn't very motivating to them. I understand the feeling in a way. We've been recieving food stamps for a couple years now, and I've recently gotten a part time job. My goal when I got the job was to work towards building up a savings account, paying some debts, and having a bit of spending money. Of course then I realized that we're going to lose our food stamps because of my income. Granted it's better to work for your money and not recieve food stamps from tax payers, but still, my income will now need to go towards buying food because we can no longer count on that money from food stamps. It is a little depressing in a way to know that I'm working this hard and not getting ahead at all. It's almost as if I need another job to accomplish my goals as this one is only getting us exactly where we already were.
@GreenMoo (11842)
25 Feb 11
I sympathise. There are similar faults with the UK benefits system. Once you are dependant on it, there's not a great deal of motivation to get off it again.
@GardenGerty (101890)
• United States
24 Feb 11
I think your title says it all. We have lost a lot when we are all going against each other instead of supporting each other. I can give you two examples about my community and co operation. One is in the area of preservation. Over the last thirty five years we have restored an old "Opera House" we have had some grants, some corporate donations, but we have also had lots of fund raising and maintaining by the community. This has now become a viable building with offices, displays, ball rooms and conference rooms. Nationally known talent can be booked in. Tour buses stop to visit, and it serves as the starting point for historic trolley rides around the community. The other example is also great. It is called Churches United In Ministry. They run a thrift shop,help people with utilities, provide for persons hit by disaster, etc. Along that same line, our community maintains a food bank, and beyond that we have an organization in our church called Outreach McPherson, that finds furniture, especially beds and dressers for families. We also stock a food pantry. As I think about it, I can list a lot of other ways that people in our community care for each other, and it makes me proud.
@GreenMoo (11842)
25 Feb 11
Churches (and other religious organisations) are generally some of the best examples of communities working together for a common good. The hardest part of any community lead initiative is starting it off. Those dedicated individuals must maintain so much of an impetus to get a scheme off the ground. Once it is established I think people are more willing to become involved.