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The following sentence is quoted from K. Ishiguro's Nobel Lecture. What does the phrase "rival camps from which to compete bitterly for resources or power" mean? What is the subject of the verb "compete"?

For the moment we seem to lack any progressive cause to unite us. Instead, even in the wealthy democracies of the West, we're fracturing into rival camps from which to compete bitterly for resources or power.

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Notice how the meaning of the sentence becomes clear when we substitute the word to (before the word compete) with the word we:

For the moment we seem to lack any progressive cause to united us. Instead, even in the wealthy democracies of the West, we're fracturing into rival camps from which we compete bitterly for resources of power.

With that substitution, we can see that the subject of the verb compete is we. (I assume you are quoting Ishiguro correctly.)

What Ishiguro is saying is that from their fractured camps, which comprise the wealthy democracies of the West (i.e., we) are competing bitterly for resources of power (instead of sharing the resources of power, a situation which Ishiguro finds preferable).

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  • Uh, compete is an infinitive and has no subject here, though infinitives can have subjects. You've simply changed the infinitive to a finite form agreeing with the pronoun you've supplied.
    – KarlG
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 14:48
  • I repeat: the infinitive compete has no subject, as in We want her to drive us to the airport. You have paraphrased, recasting the inf. clause into a relative, which does have a subject and a finite verb. That does not make we the subj. of the inf., which is never in subject case anyway.
    – KarlG
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 14:00
  • I agree with rhetorician. In the sensence " We want her to drive us to the airport', I think 'her' is the subject of the verb 'drive' . The sentence is derived from the base sentence' We want [ she drives us to the airport].
    – user63261
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 14:16
  • It occurrs to me that KarlG uses the word 'subject' differently from I do.
    – user63261
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 14:19

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