Co-operation and Competition

I came across an interesting term in a book I just read. The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley. In it he used the term “Co-operation and Competition” as a means to describe the “tug-of-war” within the various biological processes of the human body.

The same applies to industry / society / economies too. A healthy combination of both is required to thrive.

Co-operation on it’s own would devolve into something like Communism. (To each based on his need, from each based on his ability). We all know how that ended up.

Competition on it’s own would lead to stunted progress. Literally every invention builds on some previous body of work. The current leaps that tech has made is only owing to sharing of knowledge that people have made, to feed into new inventions.

Both are needed for us to make forward progress. There are many examples of industry co-operating to come up with common standards / protocols. While they compete with each other in their implementations of the same standards / protocols.

With the internet, co-operation/competition spans geographies. There is no distinction between “local” and “foreign”. For better or worse, this impacts lives and livelihoods of people everywhere. Without proper understanding of this give/take relationship it’s easy to get manipulated by vested interests. Governments are notorious for this. They tend to complicate this balance by tilting the scale in either direction e.g subsidies, tariffs, export restrictions, quotas etc

Imagine co-operating/competing openly and freely at the individual/industry/country level. Am pretty sure we will all be in a vastly better place than what we have today.