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What in the world makes people think that competition versus freedom or cooperation brings out the best? Neither in nature nor in society can we find a pure and simple answer to this question, at least on the surface. Look at the world today, with all of the commercial enterprise that defines most of what we do every day, from the food we eat, the houses we live in and the cars we drive. These same private tyrannies also compete to provide donations to political parties of all sorts in order to retain a semblance of control over the so called political spectrum.
Ideas for social, political and economic organization have been foisted upon us, taught to us now as though they are the final and most natural result of a few hundred years of industrial refinement. Competition, as Darwin we are told, demonstrated is the natural order of things. Our social world has evolved under the logical explanation that "survival of the fittest" is our natural condition. Competition in the marketplace we are blessed with provides vague notions that the so called invisible hand guides things, making the so called "free market" the most natural and "best" suited for our liberty.
Freedom on the other hand tells a different story. With free access to the complete details of history and books by these authors, Darwin and Smith's writings, we can quickly come to our own conclusions which certainly do not equate the the conclusions we hear every day. The single reference by Adam Smith does not in any way suggest that a free market works best. On the contrary, in the only reference Smith makes in his holy bible of economics, the reference is surrounded by warnings that much more must drive humanity. That "invisible hand", has been re-programmed in the marketplace of ideas, to mean quite the opposite.
In nature, Darwin would no doubt be the first to see that more and more science suggests, that nature, evolution, and our place in the universe is a great harmony, a symbiotic, balanced freedom, with a great deal of cooperation, and all encompassing inter-dependence. Fully grasping our place in nature as imagined in the great written works by Darwin, including his Origin of Species, allows us to start to see how truly equal and free we and all other living things truly are. Interpretation of, in complete freedom, would allow us all to come to quite new conclusions about how to metaphorically construct our social, political and economic worlds. Survival of the fittest, as one idea alone, has been used too long to support the idea that in our economic marketplace, it will produce the products and services that best serve our life on earth.
Industrial development as it has evolved, has transformed the marketplace of ideas for how to construct our social, political and economic world, around ideas and constructs that best suit it's own survival and growth. Institutional ideas like industrial development naturally create these self-serving, self-preserving concepts as their very existence depends upon on it in the competitive world they've created.
Freedom on the other hand, the development of a society that breaks down all the barriers erected by these competitive organizations, creates something new that approaches a more natural state that works cooperatively.
According to the principles of economic theory and industrial practice, in fact competition versus freedom, the internet we currently use constantly all day, every day now like a free and open network/marketplace (which it resembles quite closely), ought to be running on commercially superior software sold by some industrial software giant. It does not. Instead, it operates largely on open, free, and freely available software, developed largely by individuals in voluntary cooperation. Not surprisingly this freedom at the heart of the internet, built into it's very DNA, such as that may be, results in one of the richest sources of human thought and shared free knowledge, wisdom and opportunity.
Those with some knowledge of the history of the internet might quickly suggest that the roots and seeds of this network rest in the military industrial complex. Indeed, some of the funding and development did occur in the early formative period, with military purposes in mind. As with so many military ideas, including nuclear arms, germ warfare, and now drones, this defender of competition, does not apply moral thinking. Rather, the idea of the internet met the military requirements that as so often happens has unforeseen consequences like so many new technologies. In the case of a distributed network with no central control, the military benefits are clear, survival in the event of catastrophic nuclear attacks that fear mongering created the need for funding to support.
Unleashed through secret and then not-so-secret partnerships with large Universities, the internets open and free standardized protocols, allowed creative students, teachers and researchers to build their own free and open systems, eventually landing upon something we call the world wide web (www), designed to allow people to share their ideas, and link between them, certainly not what the military originally had in mind.
Unleashing the freedom of ideas with links to other related ideas on the world wide web has set off a revolution that is still ongoing and being fought every day. Despite the best efforts of the wealthiest private tyrannies in the world today, large software companies with billions of dollars in research applied, have not been able to produce and distribute software in competition with each other that can compete with free and open software that now dominates the operation of the internet and the world wide web, Linux operating system and Apache web server software being perhaps the prime examples.
In a more free and open marketplace, it is cooperation, sharing, and caring deeply and passionately about freedom and equality for all that thus far has won the day. The battle rages on. Where will you stand when it comes the fight for competition versus freedom?