Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Competition and Cooperation

Competition and cooperation are often described as opposites, with cooperation favored as “social” and competition scorned as “anti-social.” This contrast is made in utter ignorance of economics.

The economic system of a capitalist society is a system of division-of-labor. In this system, each individual devotes his labor to the production of goods and services that are consumed by others, while what he consumes is produced by others.

This represents voluntary social cooperation of the most intensive and extensive kind imaginable—a cooperation of hundreds of millions, indeed, of billions of people all across the world in serving one another’s needs and wants.

Economic competition is nothing other than the process of organizing this social cooperation. It determines which individuals produce which goods, by what methods, and to what extent.

For a complete elaboration of the nature and effects of economic competition, see my CAPITALISM: A TREATISE ON ECONOMICS, available in hardcover, 2-volume paperback, and Kindle editions at https://amzn.to/3kd4y39

There you can learn, for example, why there is room for all in the competition of capitalism, how people of lesser ability are enabled to outcompete people of greater ability, and how its effects are the opposite of competition in the animal kingdom.