In Molina’s article, cooperation ad competition in social anthropology, the author creates the claim that competition an cooperation are not inconsistent entities, but are mutually compliments of one another and have built off of each other in human history. The author builds off the Prisoner’s Dilemma of two actors pursuing their own interests as the manifestation of their own undoing, by claiming that humans have orchestrated their societies, using practices that they have used in various scenarios to create consistency in upholding its structure as seen in its maintenance of reciprocity. @silaslm takes into account that both actors in the Prisoner’s dilemma will fail if both pursue individual interests. It is very interesting how Molina uses “moral economy” as he acclaims that some may maintain the practice of asymmetrical reciprocity with the claim that it has consistently worked, especially in peasant societies and where a patron will protect the client (fiscally), if the client provides their services. Plus, that claim must be made by the patron because if deferred reciprocity is not endorsed, then the societal structure will fall.
Some may see this as a competition of gains, in order to obtain prestige. Molina does recognize this reality, which is certainly comparable to Hutcheon or Bateson, who claim that competition is not even remotely a part of the same dynamic that cooperation operates in and that collaboration triumphs as the means of interaction in all systems. Hutcheon also claims that competition is used only to beat others to bring them down. Molina, however, brings both pieces of alternative viewpoints a fair elucidation as he claims that competition has also been used as a means of who has the ability to create exchanges, which is transferable as prestige in tribal communities. However, Molina also does bring out the claim that the only true way to win in a cooperative and competitive environment is to maintain the trust of those who they exchange with, whilst accumulating the most valuables. That is how competition cannot exist without cooperation. This does tie back to the Prisoner Dilemma because it only fails since there is a lack of trust between the two actors. Thus, as long as trust is maintained, asymmetrical reciprocity under the cloak of generalized reciprocity may work in a society with patron-client relations, since the patron maintains the trust of the client with claims of it being the socialized ritual, even if the patron accumulates more valuables. However, it must be reiterated that this system can only work if the client does indeed trust the patron, otherwise the current structure will not reproduce as it will be seen as faulty by the community as a whole.
This, as a whole, is very intriguing as various conclusions drawn of how cooperation and competition manifest themselves are mostly dependent on where it was observed and the intended message that the author intends to create. Molina seems to go in the direction that the existence of competition is inevitable, but can only operate if cooperation exists, and vice versa. It will certainly be interesting to see in further depth to what extent should one exist beyond, or in harmony with the other.
#WRDS150 #14M #Anthropology #adamlittle5856