Monday, November 23, 2009

Competition or cooperation

Last Thursday I read a column in the International Herald Tribune. The columnist, an American reflected over that when he was lecturing in Paris, students saw solidarity as the antonym to competition, while where he came from monopoly was the first choice. I think the observations contains more than a simple difference in culture or language. The French apparently saw the fierce (economic) competition as opposed to solidarity.

For me I would have selected cooperation as the antonym to competition. That is, we can solve problems, or exploit opportunities not only through the model of competition, but also through cooperation. The platform for the (capitalist) competition is the market. The platform for cooperation can be society in the form of state but also in the form of civil society organisations.

In real life, I don't think the choice is the either/or but both or all three. We certainly need comptetition (and diversity) but no progress is made in human society without cooperation, and without solidarity progress might be immoral, without heart.

A problem today is the competition has been given supremacy as an ideology. Yes it is an ideology with its own fundamentalists, and they are as scary as other fundamentalists.

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