THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Competition Versus Cooperation
Keywords:Competition, Cooperation, Cooperative Movement, Polanyi
Cooperation has emerged as a new watchword of the sustainability movement. Those who are concerned about sustainability are encouraged to cooperate rather than compete. Food-related cooperatives include regional food hubs, local food networks, food box schemes, food buying clubs, farmers' markets, community supported agriculture operations (CSAs), and farmer-owned cooperatives. Cooperation is a logical response to the obvious ravages of cutthroat economic competition in the American food system. However, we cannot afford to ignore our basic human tendency to compete.
Obviously, unrestrained competition is not sustainable — in the economy, society, or nature. Contrary to popular opinion, Darwin was not referring solely to competition when he wrote about the origin and evolution of species. Individuals often need to compete for the opportunity to pass on their genes, but cooperation is necessary to actually accomplish conception and successful reproduction. Even organisms that reproduce by simple cell division must have a cooperative environment for the offspring to survive and thrive....
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