They tell me that the best thing about Capitalism is that it’s best at creating fierce competition, as if that’s the only way to make anything good. They claim this is the only way to cause progress. I don’t think the evidence is wholly supportive of this proposition.
The downside of unfettered competition is corner-cutting, cheating, dirty tricks, manipulation, deception, bullying, illegitimate power structures, abuse, domination, conquest, vanquishing and a general suspension of morals and ethics. Even hugely destructive behaviours are sanctioned, so long as you can win some arbitrary competition.
The costs of tolerating competitive behaviours, as defined under Capitalism, are approaching unbearable.
Here’s a better way to compete:
- Was this the best you could do? Did you fully apply yourself, or can you do even better?
- Are you improving? Are your goals and preferences becoming clearer?
- Did you learn anything new, lately and did you apply it?
- Do you care about what you do and how you serve? Could you care more? Could you serve more and better?
- What did you give and share today? Could you improve on that tomorrow?
- Who have you helped? Can you help more people in better ways?
- Are you making progress against you goals? Are you getting better at reaching them?
- Can you get yourself out of a rut and unstick yourself, when you’re stuck?
- Have you contributed to the ability of people and the environment to thrive?
- Does your work lead to creating good lives for all?
- Are you doing work that has purpose and meaning?
- Can you follow your curiosity even further?
- Are you a better, wiser person now than say a year ago?
- Are your ideas any better or clearer? Is the quality of your thought improving?
The only person you can meaningfully compete with is yourself.
There are plenty of ways to compete that don’t cause damage, destruction and harm, which also don’t require that other people or the planet lose.
I claim that this attitude of mind is an even more potent force for progress and innovation than self-serving greed can ever be. This is the true invisible hand.
Are you going to choose to work in enhancement mode, or remain slavishly wedded to depletion mode?
It’s up to you.