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Making things into a zero sum game, when they don't have to be. That harming one group inherently benefits another group, and vice versa. Zerosumming can be a matter of setting the rules so that something needlessly becomes a zero sum game. It can also be a discursive act of dichotomism or narrativism, portraying something as if it were a zero sum game when it actually isn't. One way of doing this is the argument that people shouldn't care about a certain issue, because there is some other issue they should care about. As if it wasn't possible to care about both issues. This argument can be used against all and any activism, because there is always some other issue that one should also care about. Another way is the argument that it would be inherently “selfish” to be honest about one's religion/belief or sexual orientation if it differs from the preferences of the parents or of mainstream society, arguing that refusing to live a lie would be at the family's expense. As if relatives would be inherently incapable of adapting and accepting their loved ones for who they are. (In Swedish: nollsummeri)

When applied to a category of human beings (in relation to another category), this is a facet of categorism.


This facet of categorism is an expression of prejudice.

It is likely to intersect with facets such as:

  • Narrativism: For example about how "they are stealing our jobs and living of welfare".
  • Biased Balance: Making an unfair "balance" seem fair by pretending that every gain for the people in one group automatically is an equal loss for the people in another group.

As well as with abstractions such as:

  • Dichotomism: Assuming that resources go either to one group or to another. Which for starters requires the assumption that everyone belong to either one category or the other.

Examples of applying this facet to a particular foci of categorism can include:

  • Sexism: Portraying rights in society as a gender-based zero sum game where every improvement for women is automatically an equal loss for men, and vice versa.