Cooperation And Competition Should Coexist


Jose Luis Molina’s article in Anthropology Today Volume 33 had a similar standpoint as Bateson but he had a more supportive view towards cooperation and competition with respect towards a social anthropological standpoint. Molina, is an economical anthropologist that’s interested in socioeconomic structures that emerged in ethnic environments and transnational fields[1].

In comparison with Bateson’s speech, Molina took a more positive stance towards competition in the anthropological sense. He gave evidence of how cooperation could coincide with competition and both parties could still benefit. “A helps B and B, subsequently, returns the favour.” (Molina, 11) In this sense, A and B are competitors but with support, they are able to achieve their goals. I personally believe that cooperation and competition are codependent of each other and are needed. It is like an ecosystem and how every element is reliant on each other to survive. In fact, Molina supports my belief as well as he stated that “Results [from the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma] suggested that…if two individuals are to meet repeatedly, cooperation would be more beneficial to each of them.” (Molina, 11) This heavily contrasts Bateson’s view on how competition isn’t needed in our world and that biologically we aren’t intended to become competitive beings but rather meant to work in codependency. I feel that competition is needed in the sense that it motivates people to step outside of their comfort zone and makes them become better versions of themselves and tap into their true potential. Without a need to be competitive and the belief that we can accomplish everything together through cooperation wouldn’t make anyone better, but rather it would make us complacent and dependent on each other. Bateson also stated how we, as a people, need to become less independent and more dependent. Rather than being independent from the beginning “to start him or her off on being independent from birth. Learn to be alone; learn to prefer to be alone sometimes” (Bateson, 675) we have to maintain the sense of dependence before we were born and before the sense of independence was instilled into us “…Certainly it is true before birth. We were all completely dependent before birth.” (Bateson, 676). Bateson thinks that we need to be interdependent beings in the biosphere rather than competitive creatures that are “…exploiting or dominating or ruling.” (Bateson, 676). I feel like there needs to be a proper balance between being cooperative and competitive and between being codependent without being competitive.

To me, Molina’s article was a mix between an expository paper and a research paper. He had introduced a new topic with his own views and thinking like Bateson’s speech but also contained factual evidence like Werron’s paper. The formal difference was that Molina wrote his paper more freely and drew support from other sources and supported his point in different ways.  His structure was that he introduced the topic then goes on to support it in multiple facets, states some opposing views and states other people’s work to provide more support. The difference with this structure is that Molina validated his point through various ways by stating how it works in different scenarios. This wasn’t done by the other readings as their points were mainly supported through other people’s work that just validated their points. I personally feel that Molina’s article allowed his point to come across easier as we are able to view what he’s trying to see through different ways.

What Molina, et al are trying to connect is that cooperation is sometimes needed with competition in order to allow the largest gain to happen. In any cases, we would need help to get over that hump or through the wall to achieve what we desire through being competitive. This relates to our ongoing topic of competition as it broadens our view and allows us to realize that with being competitive it allows us to understand that sometimes help is needed in order to achieve what we truly want from the competition.

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