I'm continuing my reporting on the next installment from Conservative Estimate, the recently founded website that is devoted to demolishing Conservatism.
Last Friday, Alfred George showed how competition generates vice in human beings, and that it is not the “fact of life” that so-called conservatives believe it to be—on the contrary, it depends for its existence on its opposite, namely, cooperation.
Today, he shows that this dependence means cooperation, and not competition, is the key to all societal interaction, and that cooperation can often replace competition with more felicitous results.
A brief account of this latest installment awaits after a short trip over the orange frills.
Mr. George begins today’s installment by noting the obvious consequence of cooperation’s primacy over competition:
Since competition depends on cooperation, it would be a much better life strategy to develop cooperative skills than to rely excessively on competitive skills. If you make cooperation your principal focus . . . you can still use competition as a means to an end, or as a training tool, or as a game. Competition becomes only one tool in your box of life skills, as it should be, not the guiding star of your life’s activity.He then notes that cooperation promotes decent behavior in society, whereas competition tends to the opposite result:
When competition becomes the dominant mode of interaction, people start to look for any way to best their opponents, because attaining their selfish goal becomes a dire necessity for them. . . .
As the level of competitiveness intensifies, it takes increasing self-restraint to maintain an ethos of not treating others badly, and to focus on the common goals of the organization. The enterprise will suffer, and may even fail if some checks are not placed on rampant competitiveness. . . . Wouldn’t it be more sensible, not to mention less wasteful and frustrating, to try to promote cooperation rather than to try to curb competitiveness?
Then Mr. George notes that cooperation has an added benefit:
[C]ooperative environments both demand and promote decent relations among people. They demand decent relations for the sake of the common goals. They promote decent relations by demonstrating to everyone involved that cooperation leads to greater, and more pleasurable, attainments than any single person could achieve alone.After this, George moves on to his second point of the day: that cooperation can often replace competition, with better results. His answer is that
much of the world is programed to believe the Major Myths. Of course people imagine that competition is the best way to succeed in life. They can’t break the hold of centuries of Myth-telling.He goes on to note that awareness of the defects of competition is increasing:
Recently, however, more and more people have begun to understand the disadvantages of competition, and the unnecessary drain on energy and creativity that it generates. We are beginning to grasp the fact that competition is inherently subject to corruption, since it elevates the goal above the means, and incites self-centered motivations in all but the strongest characters. We are beginning to see that competitive activity itself—and especially mindless, unexamined competitiveness—prevents people from recognizing the negative consequences of their own competitive impulses.And then he illustrates this point using the example of the madness over fossil fuels—a stupefying, mindless pursuit that we can’t seem to curb no matter the consequences.
Clear-sighted people see that this competition is unnecessary. All that is required is to turn our efforts toward developing new, nonpolluting sources of energy. But fossil-fuel competition itself stands in the way of doing that. It has developed highly selfish motivations and goals that override all ethical thinking about means. And when governments—the only forces powerful enough to act outside the mindless groove of corporatism—try to stimulate innovative research into new sources of energy, the brainless competitive forces strike out in any way they can to prevent it, because they have become competitors first and foremost.You can read the whole post here.
Cooperation can often achieve the same, or better, ends than competition. The cooperative and creative plan may take longer, and it may use controlled competitive structures as part of its design, but it will reach the goal humanely, and not in the manner of an over-ambitious, ethically blinded, and goal-dominated competitor.
Tomorrow, Mr. George will continue his consideration of the Myth of Competition, showing that we have known for a long time that competition is inferior to cooperation, and addressing the question of how we can best resist the temptations of competition in our individual lives and in our collective activities.
I’ll be reporting back each day as a new installment appears.