“One cornerstone of our current economic system is the concept that competition is necessary for business. The Nobel Prize laureate for economics Friedrich August von Hayek wrote that “competition is in most cases the most efficient method we know”.
This concept has never, to our knowledge, been scientifically proven. People just assume it to be true. Research has shown, however, that cooperation, not competition, is much more effective in terms of motivation, a key element regarding business innovation and efficiency. Competition does, of course, motivate people and market capitalism has proven this, but it motivates them in very problematic ways. Cooperation motivates people through successful relationships, recognition, esteem, mutual goals and mutual achievements.
In contrast, competition is defined as the “mutually exclusive achievement of objectives”. I can only be successful if someone else is unsuccessful. Competition primarily motivates people through fear. Fear is a widespread phenomenon in market capitalism. Many fear losing their job, their income, their social status and their place in the community.
There is another component of motivation when it comes to competition. Aside from fear, competition elicits a form of delight in being better than someone else. This motive is very problematic. The goal of our actions should not be to be better than others but rather to perform our task well because we enjoy it and find it valuable and helpful. If you derive self-worth from being better than others, you are dependent upon others being worse. This actually constitutes pathological narcissism: feeling better because others are worse is sick.
If we, as human beings, do not learn to cooperate and act in the spirit of solidarity we will not call power relations into question but rather will attempt to elbow our way into the realm of power and the social elite. In doing so, the majority will fall by the wayside. And social cohesion will be poisoned because we will constantly take advantage of others, exploit and debase them in the pursuit of our own advantage, weakening and destroying social trust and social bonds.”
Christian Felber and Gus Hagelberg
Not to mention that competition wastes resources when businesses are providing the same goods or services and chasing after the same consumers, requiring them to pay for advertising and cut prices, employee pay and benefits in order to compete. Why have two convenience stores, auto dealers, banks or gas stations across the street from each other, and have them both teetering on the edge of bankruptcy? But if you keep the market-based economy, as the Economy for the Common Good movement (quoted above) seems to advocate, how will you stop monopolies or cartels from over-charging or mistreating their customers? Only if the businesses are run by consumers in the interests of consumers can you avoid this conflict of interest. So why not just operate the economy on a non-profit basis, abolish money and call it socialism? Maybe the ECG movement is an evolutionary step in this direction.