Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nassim Taleb: Two Myths About Rivalry, Scarcity, Competition, and Cooperation


asymptosis |  I’d condense my thinking on the subject as follows:

1) People mistake rivalry for scarcity. If one tribe excludes all the others from a water source, forces them to do their will to get water, there’s obviously scarcity, right? Wrong.

Don’t get me started on the sacralization of (largely inherited) “property rights,” ownership — the right to exclude others.

2) They don’t understand that competition’s only virtue is increasing and improving cooperation. Cooperation — non-kin altruism, eusociality, etc. — is the thing that got us to the top of the food chain. Cooperation is what wins the battle against scarcity.
Competition fetishists think that competition is always good because it sometimes improves cooperation, even though it frequently does the exact opposite.

Think: trade wars. Or just…wars.