Monday, April 7, 2008

Winning isn't everything ... ?

Don't you love eBay's slogan, "Shop victoriously?" The implication, of course, is that there's much more satisfaction in getting what you want if you know that someone else is denied that pleasure. Many would argue, of course, that this is fundamental to our nature, at least in Western civilization. We are competitive creatures. But why should we think of outbidding others in an auction as winning? If anything, the seller is the winner, and the highest bidder is simply the biggest patsy.

Outbidding others in an auction means only one thing ... you're willing to spend more money. Should that be the criterion for winning at various human pursuits? Imagine what that would be like. Suppose the only qualification for winning a baseball championship were willingness to spend more money. Ok, bad example. Suppose the only requirement for winning a political election were the size of the campaign budget! Ok, another bad example.

Ok, it's hard to come up with an example where spending more money than others doesn't at least drastically tip the odds in your favor, if not outright assure success. But there must be some.

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