Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Capitalism: Competition

Everyone is born with a desire to survive and a desire to compete. Not everyone loves to compete and most everyone likes an occasional break from competition, but God did create humans with a competitive nature. Therefore, competition is the third key to the moral and functional success of capitalism.

Most economists rightly assert that competition is a major factor in the success of capitalism. When people, or organizations, or corporations, have to compete for customers, they will have to offer better products and services than if they were assigned customers by the government. When people, or organizations, or corporations, have to compete for sellers, they will find better suppliers than if they were assigned a supplier by the government. Health care is a good example of a system that is not market driven. Prices are high and choices are low in health care due to a lack of competition.

People who criticize capitalism are usually most concerned with the results of competition. According to the critics, competition causes some people to win and some people to lose; some to get more than they deserve or need, and some to get less than they deserve or need. I think competition causes people to get very close to what they actually deserve, but need is slightly harder to quantify. People who really need something will find a way to get it, while people who only want something will not always do what it takes to get what they want.

The aspect of competition that economists usually don’t consider or acknowledge, and the critics don’t understand is that competition is a process, not just an outcome. Our competitive nature is an inner drive that keeps us going when we have obstacles to overcome, it keeps us from reaching a point of satisfaction, and most importantly, it’s enjoyable. Thinks about it, how much of what we enjoy today is a result of someone or some organization refusing to quit? Temporary satisfaction is great, but how meaningless would life become with permanent satisfaction? Could we even imagine a life without having and achieving goals?

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