Competition is a broken promise

Ok. Here we go:

  • if you don’t participate for participation itself
  • if you want to win instead of experiencing the game
  • if you want to be the best instead of sharing an experience
  • if you want to make it instead of living it
  • if you need the prize instead of friendly embraces
  • if you search for the benefits before looking at the effects
  • if you watch the score instead of the game
  • if you stay focused instead of empathetic
  • if you find you very often have simple choices to make
  • if your future is certain
  • if you see others as scripted actors in your story
  • if yourself has a page long description of itself
  • if you know what you want but not who you are
  • if you don’t sense the problem in “absolute” values
  • if relativisation sounds like nitpicking
  • if intersectionality sounds like exaggeration
  • if your routine is constant but not examined

… your chances of success are high. Economically you’re doing great. You have great odds to win at this game.

Why? Because our market led economy game is founded on the idea of competition.

Do you know where competition comes from?

Competition is, in general, a contest or rivalry between two or more organisms, animals, individuals, economic groups or social groups, etc., for territory, a niche, for resources, goods, for mates, for prestige, recognition, for awards, for group or social status, or for leadership and profit. It arises whenever at least two parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared, where one’s gain is the other’s loss (a zero-sum game).

Competition comes from survival.

Competition, therefore is the wrong tool for thriving.

If we ever want to thrive, on this planet or elsewhere, we need to ditch competition and embrace cooperation.

Competition favours bullies.

The fact that we’re not coming up with better economic games does not mean we’re currently playing the best possible one.

Politics manages life empowering survival.

Economy manages survival empowering society.

Civilisation manages society empowering progress.

Survival will never cease to be our main target. It is the seed from which we grow our entire meaning tree, branching into just about anything we do.

Yet survival for an intelligent and aware being is not even close to enough. Just survival is merely painful at best, a living nightmare at its worst. We need the meaning tree, and that tree has a fruit: joy.

We’re deep into scientifically discovering how cooperation, sharing, social connection, peer feedback are fundamental in development of healthy, happy humans, although we knew that all along. What do we do about it? We create more culture of heroes, of one hit wonders, of special mavericks who are actually lucky winners of an unfair lottery.

The broken promise of competition is that:

  • you’ll win if you persist
  • you’ll win if you show consistency
  • you’ll win if you risk

To win at competition in the economic game, you need to maximise all three. But between persistence, consistency and risk only two work.

Persistence with consistency have zero risk.

Risk with consistency shows zero persistence.

Persistence with risk vanish consistency.

So the real winners of a competition driven economy are

  • behemoths, too big to fail
  • cheaters, who make new rules, aka disruptors
  • bullies who mitigate risk with power

There is this religious like status of competition in market economy. It is holy. You cannot discuss it. It is as if we need pain and suffering to be better, and that is exactly what religion tried to rationalise at us for thousands of years.

When are we going to learn?

There can be success and progress without pain and suffering. Winning is less important than celebrating. The highest achievement for a winner is to make someone else better than they are. Records are set to be broken.

When we’ll ditch pain and suffering as the means of bettering ourselves we’ll start to thrive instead of mere surviving.

To thrive:

To grow or increase stature; to grow vigorously or luxuriantly, to flourish.

Nature took care of our staying alive. The Earth is pretty much doing its part in this. We are super predators with general intelligence. We build on our ancestors’ achievements and progress. We adapt relentlessly. We consume everything we can grasp. Surviving in 2016 AD is a done deal. A solved issue. A closed business.

Can we thrive already? Or is that selfish gene getting in the way?