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Underhand tactics to gain an unfair advantage...

re the Lance Armstrong debarcle...The difference in performance when doping is (apparently, and roughly) a 5% uplift, which would make the difference between Armstrong being an “average” pro cyclist than at the front of the pack.

I wonder how many people engage in underhand tactics in the workplace to gain an unfair advantage (promotions, pay increase, better benefits etc), yet sit there and critise this man for what he did. For me, the principles are the same...or am I naiive?

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    Nov 10 2013: Society is shot through with a simplistic Darwinian mindset of "survival of the fittest" such that those at the top believe (unerringly) that they deserve to be at the top because they are at the top - Darwin said so! - and thus people justify to themselves all sorts of underhand tactics to claw their way to the top. It's inevitable, it's Darwin, science has said so, it's in our genes ...

    Rubbish!

    Those who have clawed their way up represent only a small proportion of the human population. The vast majority act in friendship, camaraderie, co-operatively, in solidarity, with compassion, go the extra mile to help someone, and in many other community-style ways for the benefit of the group, or the whole, rather than just themselves.
    There are many more examples of the human and animal and plant kingdoms adopting a holistic approach to life for its continued sustainability for future generations.

    The "win-at-any-cost" mind-set is both destructive, and is essentially going out of fashion as its extreme dysfunctionality becomes more and more apparent. It may take a few more generations though.
    • Nov 10 2013: If your claim were true, then cheating didn't exist until the 1800s, when Darwin published Origin of Species. Of course, your claim is false. Cheating has always been with us, and people have always been able to rationalize it.
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        Nov 10 2013: Hello Bryan,
        I'm not saying cheating is new ... Iike you say it's always been with us.
        But I'm saying a simplistic interpretation of Darwin is used as an excuse to adopt a dog-eat-dog view of the world, with those who are more adept at it and have risen to the top using Darwin as a kind of "natural law" to justify their behaviour. I meet people every day who have adopted a different kind of mind-set.
        The best ideologies as ever are those that (1).have a reduction to one simple idea; (2).are a bit vague, and (3).have an element of truth somewhere in them. Darwin is used that way by people to justify underhand tactics.
    • Nov 10 2013: We must realize that Darwin was just trying to point out what he saw seemed to be a long existing human behavior, not as a doctrine or guidance on what we should do.
      Looking at the current behavior of the world leaders, I would believe more in Darwin's observation than your prediction that people nowadays are more believing in friendship, camaraderie, cooperation or compassion.
      We could just read what Frank said and the pure fact of the chaos and the "flexible' diplomatic negotiations DOMINATED BY CHEATING AND PROPAGANDA, WHICH HAVE MORE DISAGREEMENT AND INVOLVE MORE COUNTRIES THAN THAT IN THE 1800s.
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        Nov 10 2013: Hi Bart,
        In addition to my reply to Bryan above, I'd add that Darwin's observations have been used as some kind of 'natural law' by certain people to justify their behaviour; and the majority of them seem to be concentrated in positions of power over other people, as you correctly point out. However, it's the 'other people' I meet day-to-day, and they have a more co-operative mind-set.
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    Nov 7 2013: Naive might be believing such behaviors never happen undetected or unchallenged. The other extreme, which I would sooner call cynical than naive, is assuming comparable behaviors are much more pervasive than they really are- believing that a very large proportion or majority of successful people cannot have moved forward because of merit, effort, and persistence. I don't think that suspecting large numbers of successful people to be cheaters is what I would call "naive." It's something else, perhaps even a disposition of personality?

    Only you can know how well informed or naive you might be about the inner workings of workplaces in general and how much you are assuming without yet doing much research or seeking evidence. What is your answer to your own question?
  • Nov 11 2013: Yes the principle is the same except there are no rules or governing body to check on the individual doing the lying, cheating, etc.
  • Nov 9 2013: You are naïive !!!

    We today live in a world of Drugs. Chemical Drugs.
    Our Geographical Governments are filled with leaders that ignore the problems of Drugs.
    You think Not ???

    Consider
    Drug problems in sports and our everyday lives continue. They do not cease.
    Instead they grow daily.

    Our President Kills Terrorists in far away places.
    Our President does not Kill Drug Farmers in far away places.

    Our President Disrupts Nation's Governments with Economic Sanctions.
    Our President does not Disrupt Drug Cartel's with Economic Sanctions.

    Our President instead, builds a fence on our border with Mexico.

    Across the Mexican border -- (across the bridge)
    Drug Cartels are having a War. -- It seeps across our border everyday.
    In the last 6 years, Drug Cartel Wars have killed 80,000 Mexicans,
    most are innocent men, women, and wee children, killed, or maimed for life.

    Read your newspapers. What's that, you have? Oh, then you know.
    Like hell you do.
    You only know, if you live there near the hot border.

    An Example: --- This is today folks,
    Panga boats transport Drugs from Mexico up our coastlines to Santa Barbara and on to
    Morro Bay, and San Simeon. They must run counter to the Ocean Currents and the trip
    has to be miserable to those making it. Still they come, with ready customers awaiting.

    Police catch, what one in one hundred, or less. Probably much less.
    And only when some beach-watcher spots them unloading their crap.

    The Drug trade is so well established today, one merely needs call and delivery is made
    by a bicycle delivery man in 20 minutes or less. I watch it happen at my neighbor's door,
    two or three times a week. Another happy Welfare Beneficiary, spending his monthly check.
    Report it to the police? Yup... Not much response there. Police aren't tested for Drugs.

    The answer --
    We've learned to live with it.

    ps: When I grew up, we didn't have a Drug Problem. We had parents.
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    Nov 9 2013: Matt, I coach and there is a very fine line between somethings that are wrong and allowed. I also live in a small town and we have the same crews that ref / ump and can tell you who calls what and who lets it slide. I would love to tell that sports are about team efforts, sportsmanship, and a bunch of other ideal things ... Its not. It is about winning. I have seen kids who spell their names right in three tries (five if you added the last name) and still be eligible to play.

    Winning is not the thing .... it is everything.

    USC fired the football coach on the airplane after they lost to ASU ... college coaches get multi-million dollar a year salaries with many perks .... start losing and your gone.

    Pro sports are salaried structured to starters get x amount in their contract ... so much for passes caught ... yards gained .... and so on. Add these up and the difference in millions in salary and many times that in endorsements.

    Industry ... is cut throat and many bonuses ride on many things. Playing on someones weaknesses is part of the game. Like it or not. If the boss gets a call that manger XYZ is at a motel with his secretary and gets fired ... all the suitors for his job line up. He is tomorrows gossip and then yesterdays news ... no tears.

    My opinion .... lawyers and politicians have few morals and less ethics. There is much at stake. It is not just the power ... it is the inside information that allows the politicians to invest in a sure thing and make millions over and over. Remember Nancy Pelosi an her buying stocks just before she cast the deciding vote for Visa card .... she made millions and yet voted to send Madoff to prison for insider trading. Yep that is our elite leadership.

    Lawyers use words to cheat all of the time ... when caught the defense says objection ... and they get a do over. If at first you do not cheat successfully try and try again. If your really lousy at it then go into politics.
  • Nov 8 2013: I've heard this from a tycoon: 'If you ain't cheatin, you ain't tryin'

    We are fearful, competitive little creatures......quite primitive
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      Nov 8 2013: What do you expect from a species who just got off their trees?
      • Nov 8 2013: Good point. :-). Though, I would suggest that the 'give-evolution-time' belief is THE Belief that prevails in society today. Perhaps it perpetuates the quagmire we have gotten ourselves into. I cannot resist casting just the tiniest seed of doubt into vast monocultural field of societal beliefs. Great weekend!
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          Nov 8 2013: I don't see any comprehensible reason to wait any longer for nature to grow our brains noticeable bigger for us to finally decide to actually use them.

          Theoretically, whats there already in gray-matter should be enough to speed up social evolution at much higher pace than biology can ever dream of, unless ...

          Well, unless ...

          Unless ...


          See, this is what I don't actually get! Especially as we a running short on time.

          Have a nice weekend too!
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        Nov 9 2013: Running short on time ... we're late ... we're late ... for a very important date ....

        Oh yeah ... that is not the subject at hand .... sorry.
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          Nov 9 2013: No need for you to be sorry, Robert, you rime much better than you may think you do.
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    Nov 7 2013: No, you are not naive. As doping happens in sports, people in the business world also find ways to get an unfair advantage.
    I think there is not much difference between both. Both are deplorable, but in the business world it's called "politically savvy" which sounds better than doping ;-)