Thursday, September 30, 2010

Collaboration over competition

Thought experiment: A corporation, headed by a single CEO, opens for business. Their key product line gets under way, mostly thanks to a small handful of experts -- marketing, design, etc. -- whom the CEO has deemed top of the line in terms of innovation capability. Before long, the corporation starts reeling in profits. So far, so good.

A business-savvy man gets wind of the product idea, and thinks that it is a profitable one. He decides that he wants to try his hand at selling the product as well, but realizes that, if he were to work under the current CEO of the new corporation, he'd be making virtually nothing in lieu of the bureaucratic hierarchy that exists there.

Problem! The man wants to make a profit. In fact, he finds this to be so much more important than refining the product to the end of maximizing its benefit to society that he decides to start his own, competing corporation! He doesn't need the former corporation's experts, he thinks. He'll just hire some of his own to find ways of making the product attractive enough to the average consumer to out-compete his rival.

He's successful. As a result, the two corporations are now competitors, which may stimulate economic growth, but it in no way makes society a better place. Due to the existence of a monetary incentive, neither CEO is willing to combine their experts for the purpose of balancing out their marketing and design teams, because neither CEO is willing to share his salary with the other. Obviously, if one group of experts contains an individual who knows more about some aspect of the product than everyone else in either group -- and vice versa -- then they'd all do well to combine and collaborate -- if their goal is the actual improvement of the product.

Eliminating the monetary incentive would solve this problem, as, in a resource-based economy, there would be no fear of becoming destitute or going hungry. We'd all have access to the exact same resources -- not as in communism, which is contingent on equal distribution of resources and ownership, but in a manner which utilizes equitable distribution -- that is, allocating resources based on wants and necessity rather than on lowest common denominators and fixed numbers. If this were to happen, we'd all be free to work on things for a superior reason: to make them better.


  1. You can go that route, or you can go the libsoc route- no more competing CEOs, just workers who are trying to produce something for society.

  2. That's what I was trying to say, basically -- though I didn't give it a name.

  3. But you just published an entry calling libsoc and all other Anarchist ideologies a "return to nature."

  4. Is anarchism the only path to eliminating competing CEOs?

  5. "Is anarchism the only path to eliminating competing CEOs?"

    No- you can also go the dictatorship route. However, this is not the road to freedom.