Competition & Cooperation

In Molina’s Cooperation and Competition in Social Anthropology, anthropological evidences demonstrates that cooperation emerged not only because as a response to competition, but rather the two coexist in all societies. For example, foraging societies rely on generalized reciprocity as their mechanism, which aims to prevent competition and inequality by encouraging cooperation and sharing. Tribal societies stress hierarchy and prestige. But just as @vinitinandwani3427 pointed out, in spite of that, “the extent of competition within the society does not compromise trust, and in a way includes cooperation.” In peasant societies, moral economy demonstrates that even though people compete with each other in regular activities, but they cooperate in times of need.

Molina’s publication has formal structure. He first identified the three mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation, then used three types of societies to illustrate the mechanisms. As @selinae1 mentioned, Molina used many credible sources, which makes this publication sound more formal and scientific. Also, he sheds a much more positive light on competition. In contrast, Bateson’s commentary is more casual, the examples she provided are more informal and relatable. This difference exists because Bateson’s purpose is to call to action, where people should act as “parts of interdependent systems” instead of competing against each other. Molina’s purpose is not call to action, but instead shows a different angle to investigate competition and cooperation. In this case, Werron’s and Molina’s publications are more similar as they provide us a tool to look at the competition, while Bateson’s and Hutcheon’s publications are more similar as they both have a call of action to cooperate.

I agree that competition and cooperation coexist. Competition is what drives us to be our best, but by the end of the day, we are just making a bigger pie for everyone to share.

5 Comments

  1. Hi Catherine,

    I really like way in which you’ve highlighted Molina’s structure, and identified certain differences between his article and Bateson’s.

    While I do agree to a certain extent that competition drives us to be the best we can be, I do not entirely agree that we are making a bigger pie for everyone. Due to factors we’ve discussed in class, such a increased neoliberal ideology, it would appear that on one end, the disparity between who gets to enjoy the pie grows larger every day.

    I was just wondering what your opinion was on how the benefits to society from the dynamics of competition and cooperation have, perhaps in some way, changed over time?

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  2. Hi,

    I really like the way that you compared this work by Molina with Bateson. There is a clear understanding of what Bateson’s idea of competition is and it’s purpose being “call to action”; I like how you described it this way.

    I think it’s interesting that you talk about Molina taking a different angle to look at competition and cooperation and I too, believe that this is also the case.

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  3. Hi Catherine! I really enjoyed reading this post and wanted to mention a couple points. As I read the article, I noticed that we have come to the same conclusions regarding the structure that Molina et al. used in this paper. As the author brought up the three mechanisms for the evolution of corporation, Molina et al. supported these points up with the implementing the ideas into three separate human societies. Agreeing with @selinae1, the use of credible sources made this publication more trustworthy. I had quick question about the second part of your response. Do you think if Bateson added a couple more “high profile” sources, her work would be seen as more formal and scientific? Or do you believe that it’s more to do with the tone and type of writing that makes it casual? Cheers! Jack

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  4. Great post!

    I also agree that competition and cooperation coexist in our present society. Your reference to making a bigger slice of pie for others ties perfectly in to the economic theory of efficiency versus equity. Efficiency works to create the largest pie from the limited resources of our world, and equity works to distribute the slices evenly between individuals. I believe that competition and cooperation coexist in the same manner that efficiency and equity do, and they both work to balance each other out.

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  5. I like how you compared Molina, Bateson and Hutcheon’s written form and structure! I agree with you and @selinae1 on that the uses of credible sources causes the Molina article to seem more trustworthy for being formal and scientific. I feel, however, this can sometimes cause an authority bias and make holes in arguments less apparent. Furthermore, I don’t completely agree that “the extent of competition within the society does not compromise trust, and in a way includes cooperation.” and “In peasant societies, moral economy demonstrates that even though people compete with each other in regular activities, but they cooperate in times of need” because what about psychopaths who out of need should cooperate to help save the world but would rather watch it burn? Or those who seem like normal people but out of their own need to succeed, will choose to betray others trust to win the competition of things like job promotions and etc? In my opinion, these viewpoints lean towards being more idealistic rather than realistically applicable to everyone in any society.

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