One of the common thoughts about evil is that the love of money is the root of all evil. Of course it isn’t that simple. Greed is another obvious cause. Other not so obvious causes are pride, desires, religion, etc. Sure, there are indeed many sources of evil.

Sometime back, in my occasional ‘wild’ thoughts, I came upon a thought that competition is the root of all evil. Here, I am not talking about evil as being limited to horrendous crimes such as murder but rather anything that is not good such as losing a job or having to close a business.

In our daily lives, we can’t avoid the aspects of competition and I think all of us would like to eradicate it from our lives if possible. This is certainly not an obvious root, and can be debatable. My wife disagrees and thinks that greed should be the root, and this is indeed hard to refute. It is easy to think of greed being the root as a little love of something is usually harmless, but anything that is excessive such as love of money, status, and even love of a person or thing (e.g. Olympic medal and drugs !) can easily drives one to do evil. However, I see competition being the source of greed, and therefore a lower ‘root’ than greed. Say if you are stranded in an island by yourself and there is nobody else to compete with, will you need to be greedy with anything? Since there is no one else to divide the land with or to compete on the harvesting of food in the island, greed will be impossible to take root, isn’t it? Now, introduce someone of equal or even more superior skills in the island, and I think greed will rear its ugly head when both competes over the resources of the island. And this is especially true if there are limited resources on the island.

Still don’t agree with me? Let me bring you to the story of man’s creation in the Bible. The first sin was the fall of Adam and Eve from disobeying God by eating the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. But the first crime was committed by Cain because of competition. Abel and Cain were Adam’s and Eve’s son and Abel offered a sacrifice to God that pleased Him. But God wasn’t pleased with Cain’s offering due to something wrong done by him. You know what happened next? Cain killed Abel for that. Was there greed? I don’t think so. It was competition that made him a murderer. If Abel wasn’t there to compete with Cain, he wouldn’t have been so angry even if he committed the same mistake.

Another thought on competition is that it is actually a necessary evil and something that all of us actually commit unwittingly. So, you can teach or advise people not to be greedy and that’s good, but can you tell people to be non-competitive? That’s pretty much like communism, and we know that this doesn’t work well for mankind. In other words, lots of ‘evil’ (ie anything not good) being faced by us are created by competitions more than greed. In the current tainted-milk scandal in China for example, you can say that the culprits that committed the unscrupulous acts of adding melamine had greed, but could it be that their acts of greed are rooted in their desires to be better off than their friends, relatives and competitors? That would then be attributed to competitions as the main source or root.

So, if we eradicate competitions, would we eradicate evil? It’s kind of tempting to say yes, but I think this short blog entry isn’t enough to cover the whole scope. Maybe there is an even lower root than competition! Insufficient resource/money or lack of resource/money comes to mind. But that wouldn’t explain why Cain murdered Abel, right?


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