Competition as cooperation

up:: A Theology for Online Creators, Domain - Economics ==Level of Certainty: Competition as cooperation is an interesting concept, I haven’t reflected much on whether it stands or not. Level of Effort: Rephrasing from the article mentioned below.==

These thoughts are inspired by Competition and Work – Theology of Work.

Competition leads to the good of the community by economic progress. The godly woman in Proverbs 31 is praised by her wisdom in engaging in competitive markets and using it for the good of others.

  • 20: She gives to those in need,
  • is shrewd in puchasing (v13, v14, v15) and selling (v18, v24, v28),
  • her business is profitable (18), her household gains wealth (11) and social standing (23) and
  • she contributes to the community (31)

Competition comes with tempation

While a competitive marketplace is not inherently inconsistent with God’s design, the sin that enters the realm of competition accounts for many ills that can befall individuals and society.

  • The temptation of selfishness, making our own interests more important to us than the interests of others
  • The temptation of envy, judging our own well-being by comparison with the well-being of others
  • The temptation of greed, breaking the rules of fair play to extract wealth and advantage from others through injustice

The New and Old Testament set markers for a just economic playing field and set the bar high for generosity and charity.

Competition as cooperation

The roots of the word “compete” are the Latin con petire, which meant “to seek together”. Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience

How are we to see competition then? There is potential for a great violation of the commandment to love our neighbour, yet Scripture doesn’t assert that a free market is bad. We can start seeing competition as cooperation. Humans are created as relational beings and inherently, all economy is one of cooperation. Manufacturing a product needs cooperation. Buying and selling is cooperation. Ethical competition leads to cooperative flourishing of the whole human race by enabling innovation that diminishes suffering. It also serves competitors by “iron sharpens iron” (17).