The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism has recently launched a new mini site:
Here is a snippet from a piece on Competition:
In economic competition, the actions that various competitors take to “win” are different. In a capitalist system, individuals compete to be a more successful or more efficient producer of wealth. Whether in the form of earning a wage, inventing a new machine, manufacturing an electronic device, or hiring the best employee, competition in economic life always involves producing and offering values. When different individuals “compete” in the economic realm, they are each achieving a productive value—they each create wealth. Although one producer may exceed the others in success (he may sell more or earn more profits or hire better employees), the producers who have not “won” nevertheless have achieved something of value appropriate to their own productive effort. They may hire some other employee or sell some milk or make some profit. This point has been concretized well by philosopher Harry Binswanger. He notes that “if the New York Yankees could choose between winning by a score of 2 to 1 or losing by a score of 9 to 10, they would unhesitatingly choose winning, even though it means scoring fewer runs.” By contrast, “if a business had to choose between ‘winning’ (being the market-leader in sales) with profits of $2 million or ‘losing’ (being second, third, or lower in earnings) with profits of $9 million, they would unhesitatingly choose ‘losing.’”
Indeed, even when a particular seller of milk, for example, is “out-competed” in the marketplace and is unable to sell any milk, he benefits from the actions of the rival producer. His rival has achieved efficiency and productivity, has made it possible for others to be more productive and efficient, and in turn has created wealth. When the competitor was unable to make a sale, he failed to achieve a new value, but he did not “lose” the sale. It never “belonged” to him in the first place, though he was free to attempt to gain it. That each individual competitor has produced milk does not constitute a right or entitlement to sell it or to deserve customers. Each has entered the competition voluntarily with a full knowledge of the potential gains and risks. When the milk-seller who “loses” has seen his rival devise new ways of reducing the price of milk, he may be motivated to enact such cost-saving measures himself, he may be driven to new levels of productivity, or he may discover that his talents are better suited to another profession (or even to going to work as an employee for his former rival).