Competition

What is freedom of competition?

Under capitalism, free-competition means freedom from the initiation of physical force. Freedom of competition is the freedom to produce by one’s efforts (and in conjunction with the voluntary efforts of others), and the freedom to trade what one has produced, for one’s self-interest/profit, i.e., in the pursuit of one’s happiness.

Free-competition is a consequence of the political right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness applied to the economic sphere of production and trade. 

Morally, competition among producers is founded not on service to consumers — which is a result; but, upon the pursuit of rational self-interest, i.e., the profit motive. Economically, its result is a free-market. A free-market does not mean freedom from the rule of law, but freedom from criminals and regulators.

Free-market competition presupposes a social system based on individual rights.

The freedom to produce and keep what one has created is the application of the right to property. The freedom to trade goods on one’s terms is the application of the right to liberty. The right to advertise what one has produced is the application of the right to free speech. The right to profit from what one has produced is to keep what one has created is the application of the right to the pursuit of happiness.

Free-competition without individual rights is a contradiction in terms; it is an oxymoron. Of course, if one is a communist, fascist or socialist (all are different forms of a single evil principle: collectivism) and does not believe in individual rights then competition has an entirely different meaning.

What is the key to the success of capitalist competition?

The key to the success of capitalist competition is that it limits competition to the economic sphere of production, and removes competition from the political arena of compulsion.

Where capitalist competition leads to a free market; political competition leads to a mixed economy of warring pressure groups and if continued for long — a dictatorship.

Are competition and cooperation opposites?

Contrary to those who prattle “competition versus cooperation,” capitalism is the only system where voluntary cooperation can exist, as it banishes the initiation of physical force from all relationships, making all exchanges voluntary.

Contrast this with the “cooperation” of collectivist societies, where one man must “cooperate” with another, lest he desires to be fined, thrown in prison, or have a lead bullet pumped into his skull.

Capitalist competition is the most economical/practical form of social cooperation, where every producer competes to see who can best cooperate (trade) with every consumer. Such is the nature of capitalist competition.

Do individuals lose their rights when they enter business?

One’s rights do not disappear when one becomes businessmen as rights are inalienable. One does not gain/lose rights by being poor; one does not lose/gain them by becoming rich. Under the law of capitalism, all men are to be held equal in rights: what they choose to do with their rights determines their fate (economic position).

How does one determine if a given action is anti-competitive or not?

As a free-market is the application of the principle of individual rights to the economic sphere of production and trade; it is the principle of rights that determine if any action is anti-competitive or not. If no rights are violated, then neither is freedom of competition. Free-competition only has a single requirement: the protection of individual rights by the banishment of physical force (including fraud) from all relationships.

Do consumers have extra “consumer rights” in additional to individual rights?

No. One does not gain or lose rights by membership in any group. One does not lose one’s rights when one becomes a producer; one does not gain rights by becoming a consumer.

The only right the consumer has is the freedom to refuse or accept what producers offer them. Similarly, the producer has no right to force consumers to support his business and purchase his good and services. The consumer has no right to force the producer to sell something, no more than the producer has the right to force the consumer to buy something. Only when the two voluntarily agree does an exchange (trade) take place. Neither party must make a deal if they do not like their terms, they are free to go elsewhere.

It is the consumer that sets the terms of how his money is traded, and it is the producer that set the terms on how his good or service is traded. The producer’s job is not to serve the consumer’s interests, no more than it is the consumer’s job to serve the producer’s interests, both must serve their interests. It is only when their interests coincide that trade — a voluntary exchange of value for value — takes place.

Doesn’t freedom of competition mean an “equal playing field”?

That depends on what means by “equal playing field.”

The best metaphor for capitalist competition is competitive sports.

[ADD MORE DISCUSSION HERE]

Competition does not mean one will have “equal ability” (just like the right to life does not mean you will live as long or as prosperously as your neighbor).

When a company uses its property in a way that does not benefit its competitors, it is not anti-competitive. Competition does not mean that ones do things to promote one’s competitors, but that one does things to improve one’s position — if necessary at the expense of one’s rival’s market share. The only condition is that one’s actions are never at the expense of violating anyone’s rights.

Equality under free-competition only means an “equal protection and respect for rights.”

What is the difference between competition under capitalism and competition under collectivist societies?

All social systems have competition; the difference is that under capitalism, competition for economic power results in the creation and trading of wealth, whereas in collectivist societies, competition for political power results in the plunder and destruction of wealth.

Under capitalism, competition is an economic process where men do not compete to forcibly put down others, but to raise their self-up by creating values which are potentially unlimited.

Under all collectivist systems competition is a political process where men compete not to create values but to maneuver themselves into a position to plunder and mooch the wealth of others.