Thursday, April 17, 2008

Competition vs. cooperation (again)

Sorry to always come back to the same subjects, but the purpose of this blog is to gather a data base of quotations from my readings on the subjects I like.

"The concept that one business succeeds because another does not is part of the same thinking that has created the dichotomy between consumer and customer. But, in fact, there is a large and overwhelming body of evidence demonstrating that competition in human culture, whether it be in business or other endeavors, does not improve the species, but is maladaptive and far from being the most intelligent cultural strategy. The country we admire, fear, and dislike the most in economic matters is Japan, a country that places an unusually high, even extraordinary emphasis on cooperation, collaboration, and harmony. That does not mean that Japanese companies do not compete, but it does mean that they do so within the larger cultural imperative of harmony. One of the reasons we in this culture compete actually has nothing to do with business, but rather is the addiction to winning, to beating an opponent. If the purpose of this competition and winning is an enlarged ego system, then it goes without saying that we will pursue it endlessly because, as all winners know, the joy is short-lived, the hunger endless. A restorative economy will have as its hallmark a business community that coevolves with the natural and human communities it serves. This necessitates a high degree of cooperation, mutual support, and collaborative problem-solving. It depends on very different skill-sets than those that are being drummed into us in sports, movies, and business schools. Competition for the consumer or between businesses is impractical, wasteful, expensive and degrading to all involved. It imitates an immature ecosystem, and in this day and age, that is retrogressive, not progressive."

Paul Hawken, in The ecology of commerce. A declaration of sustainability, chapter "The opportunity of insignificance".

No comments: