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  • Foto del escritorKaren Ness

Competition in the Moral Hierarchy

Competition is a healthy thing, as long as the competitors abstain from coercion and deceit. This abstention allows society to exist; the members of Society benefit from that competition. Healthy competition allows a productive and helpful hierarchy to develop. It is when competition deviates from the respect for liberty and property that hierarchies are corrupted; society suffers. Neither deceit nor coercion should be tolerated in a social relationship if we want functional and productive society.

Obviously, the use of physical aggression is part of many human activities, like sports. But, even there, the rules generally, with notable exceptions like boxing, American football, and rugby, prohibit damage done to the physical property of the person in the game, especially the life of the player. Besides, even those games have other restrictions that limit the coercion to prevent it from turning into war, an activity where the one who is best at using coercion and deceit wins, for all that there are supposed to be rules. Inside the team that wins a war, the members keep themselves within the moral hierarchy, but to the outside, it’s war, no respect for the Law.

The Law, which prohibits coercion and deceit, preserves society, which benefits us all with plentiful goods and services. Healthy competition stimulates the supply of better products in commerce, the most basic social dynamic. Businesses, cooperative by definition, produce merchandise of better quality than the competition or they do not make as much money as the competition. They can even disappear if they deceive consumers so much that, when these notice, they end up with insufficient clientele to pay for further production.

In the economy, that dynamic in Society that exchanges goods and services that can be quantified, healthy rivalry produces healthy hierarchies of competitiveness, ability, competence, talent, suitability, and especially excellence. That ability, competence, and excellence, produced by healthy competition, make it possible for us to have at our service surgeons that save our life, teachers and professors who are truly expert in their subject, sports figures and artists that make our life more pleasant, same as the other fields of social activity. But, when that competition is derailed by coercion or deceit, quality suffers in all those activities, with negative consequences for our health and collective well-being.

When competition is infected by coercion and deceit, society suffers, Society is corrupted. Consequently, the different dynamics in Society, like commerce, politics, the economy, the family, education, etc., are perverted and the quality of what they must produce deteriorates. The gravest consequences of these perversions are the ones that take place in politics, since they directly impact all other social activities. Once coercion and, especially, deceit is allowed in the competition for control of public power, the whole Society becomes sick through the pathological application of public force.

Once coercion and deceit infiltrate government, each time that public power is used for something other than limiting the violations to liberty and property, the dynamic it touches becomes diseased. That diseased dynamic, be it education, medicine, unions, the economy, no longer organizes itself into a hierarchy of excellence, competence, talent, but into a hierarchy of power.

No longer does that field produce the best, it becomes a battleground for access to resources that are not used optimally. Everything becomes politicized. Competition in all fields is deviated from competence in that field to competition for power.

En fin, competition is a healthy thing, while it is not infested with coercion or deceit. The most important thing for any Society, any State, is to understand this fact. Coercion and deceit poison everything they touch. But, the more dangerous of the two is deceit.

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