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The Contender
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Collaboration is better than competition

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/11/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 733 times Debate No: 63073
Debate Rounds (4)
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Pro argues for collaboration. Con argues for competition.

1st round is acceptance.
2nd round No rebuttals.



I accept your challenge. I first ask that you define your terms since competition involves collaboration, I would agree that collaboration doesn't necessarily involve competition, but competition is mostly supported by collaboration. This of course depends again on what definition of competition pro is appealing to, as their are team competitions, solo competition, as well as biological competition, just to name a few. Given this it is not a logical question to ask which is better, as the two terms are entangled. Perhaps pro will clear this confusion in round 2.
Debate Round No. 1


Definitions (Wikipedia)
- working with others to do a task and to achieve shared goals
Competition - the rivalry among sellers trying to achieve such goals as increasing profits, market share, and sales volume by varying the elements of the marketing mix: price, product, distribution, and promotion.

When I say collaboration and competition, I am talking mainly from an economic perspective.

No man is an island
Imagine that you are stranded on island with your friends. If survival is your main goal, would you guys compete or would you collaborate? Collaborating will probably ensure your survival much better because the whole group can leverage each others individual skills and contribution.
Today the world would much be better off if humanity fully collaborates instead of competing against each other. Collaboration, not competition, is what allows humans to accomplish large goals and tasks such as building bridges or sending a man on the moon. At Apple, engineers collaborate in order to design the iPhone and iPads. Companies cannot be successful if the people within that company don't collaborate. Imagine if employees within a company all compete against each other. That company wouldn't survive very long. When people collaborate, obviously more work gets done than one person working by himself.
The bigger question is why is the principle of collaboration only applied within a company, and not to all of humanity and the world? Just like the success of a company depends on its employees working together, the success of the human race depends on humans working together and solving our problems.
We don't solve our problems by competing against each other; problems are ultimately solved when we collaborate.

Competition divides humanity
The problem with competition is that it's too individualistic and self-centered. Don't get me wrong; I am not against having personal freedom and expressing our unique selves. The problem is that in a competitive environment, the main objective becomes beating the other person, and not about improving oneself. An example is in our school systems where most students focus on getting high letter grades on the exams and beating their classmates, instead of really understanding and learning the subjects that are being taught. Many students forget what they memorized after they pass the class and didn't really learn as much they should have. Competition divides and seperates us, because it makes us think that we are all different from each other and that we have little or no common interest. Racism and nationalism is all a root of competition: whites vs. black, Spanish vs. Asians, U.S. vs China. The fact is that we are all humans, no matter what race or country we come from. We all have the same needs and problems: food, water, shelter, companionship, and love. Yes each of us are unique and have our own individual skills and personalities, and likes, but that doesn't take away our common values.

"Competition movitates people"
Sadly, this is true for many people because this is what our culture and our education systems have taught us.
Our society teaches us to be better than other people always comparing ourselves with everybody. Who has the better car, better house, etc? If you're a artist, your motivation to paint should be to create the most beautiful painting that you can create, not because you want to have a better painting than your next door neighboor. Our society teaches to compete against others, when the true competition is ourselves. We can always only improve ourselves to the best we can. Our motivation is to improve and become better at what it is we love to do, and solving problems.



Given pro's definition for competition, which seems to be worded in such a way as to imply animosity, is not necessarily the way it is seen in the real world. Pro is correct in his first analogy of being wrecked on an island, it would be better to compete against the environment and work with your group. However I would say that this form of competition is a far off stretch from the topic pro is presenting, which is the competition between businesses.
That being said pro makes some good points here, when humans come together and put our minds to something, we can reach distances greater than the sky. But none of these events have taken place without competition. The competition between the United States and Russia in the 50's and 60's known as the space race is a great example, what started essentially as an international pissing contest ended up in the space programs of today. So while the intent at the beginning may have been from misguided minds, the competition has allowed us to amass unimaginable data from the universe. Apple is another great example of how competition has led to innovation. While it is true that the company depends on the ideas of its people in order to drive forward, it also depends on the strength of its competitor. Apple fights a different fight than that of the aforementioned space race, however the goal of creating a better phone/computer, etc. is the same in both areas. If iPhone puts out a model with a flexible screen or some new technology that enhances memory it will then be motivation to Apple to come out with their own new twist. For consumers this competition is also important, as it gives businesses a reason to hold their standards, if you give me bad service at a diner there are other diners that can be visited. Therefore the persons working in most retail/customer service setting, knowingly or not, are competing for the costumers who come into there business.

Pro then goes on to say that competition divides people. Given the definition provided for, which was focused on business aspects of competition, the word does not make sense, nor does it pertain to the argument of which is better, collaboration or competition, in a business setting as pro had first phrased it. On a personal note, it would seem that pro's perception of competition is fairly cynical as he does not seem to separate competition from beating someone else in order to feel superior. Competition can be defined best I think as a struggle, and it can be against someone in a friendly or unfriendly fashion, they can also be had with no one (climbing mountains), or against yourself (getting over that fear of the height). Pro also ties in some interesting assertions, claiming that racism has roots in competition, (and is therefore bad?) This is akin to saying, farming has ties to racism, therefore it is bad. Both statements may be true, however the conclusion is unjustified.

In pro's closing statement he makes a questionable statement regarding motivation and competition, first he links society and education with materialism, and society to competition, but never does competition secure a link with materialism. Pro then asserts that if someone is inspired by their neighbor to try painting a masterpiece that it must be from this materialistic mindset, however it may just as easily be that seeing the painting her neighbor had made gave her confidence that she too could create an art piece.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you DanK for your post. First I would like to point out that in the 1st round I explicitly said no rebuttals in the second round, which my opponent went ahead and violated.

To counter my opponent, I am not saying competition completely is bad. I think friendly competition is fine such as in sports and so on. Though when it comes to economics, innovating, and solving problems, collaboration is a more powerful system. Yes the space race between the U.S. and Russia did give us the space programs of today because of competition. But wouldn't the U.S. and Russia been more productive if they collaborated? Two heads are always better than one.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall
In times of war, there is never a struggle for a nation and its military to collaborate so that we can defeat an enemy. In times of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Haitian earthquake, there were no hesitations of nations to collaborate and help rebuild what was destroyed. [1] However when we’re not in war or there are no natural disasters, we totally abandon this collaborative mentality. But why is it only implemented during times of emergencies? The fact is that is how we should act everyday and the world would be a far better place than what it is today.

Everything in the universe is energy. When we compete against each other, our energies are divided and dispersed in different directions. When we collaborate, our energies are channeled and focused like a laser beam which is a much powerful force. Let me give an analogy.

In semiconductors, in a normal state, free electrons move in random directions and collide with each other, and overall produces no current or energy. Now when an electric field is applied, the electrons start moving in a unified direction creating current and kinetic energy.[2] Competition is akin to the free electrons moving in random directions and colliding against each other, which doesn’t produce net current and gets us nowhere. This is a huge reason why we can’t solve mass poverty around the world, despite we have the knowledge, mathematics, and technologies to solve it - simply when we compete our energies are divided, dispersed and constantly colliding.
In a collaborative system, people act like the electrons that move in a unified direction which produces lots of current and energy. When we put our individual differences aside and all work together in the direction of actually improving our society, we create a powerful “electric field”, significantly more powerful than that of individual electrons acting independently on its own. Only in unity can we create abundance.

The Human Body Analogy
The human body is a collaborative system in which each individual part is no less important than another.
All of the parts and organs play their own essential role and are equally as important to keep your body healthy and functioning properly. Imagine if your body had a competitive system where all your organs competed against each other; Your brain competed with your heart, or your lungs competed with your liver. It would be a disaster and you wouldn’t survive very long. Our bodies treat every organ with the same importance and optimally distributes the right amount of nutrients to each part in order to keep the body healthy. When we get sick such as getting a cold or flu, our body responds by distributing the nutrients to the parts that currently needs it the most, which in this case, the immune system. If you got a wound, then the body would immediately send the proper nutrients to that site. The body is not bias towards any individual part, there’s no competition. Every part depends on other parts in varying degrees; one part cannot stand alone. If it leaves out even a small individual part, the whole system would not properly function at its optimum level and could eventually fail. Ex:The brain cannot function without a nervous system, the heart cannot function without the lungs, etc. Every part is interconnected in some way and dependent upon each other. [3] [4]

This same principle and system applies to society. Today with our competitive system, most of the economic energy is currently flowing to the minority of the population, just like if our brain recieved most of the nutrients in our body. In order for our planet’s economic system to function at its optimum, we must adapt the same principles that our own body uses which is a collaborative system. Every person on this planet is valuable and is no less important than any other person. Each person has his or her own unique individual skills and talents which each contribute an essential role and impacts the entire system or community. The great thing about a collaborative system is that people will be doing what their passion is, instead of a job that they hate because they’re forced to become ‘competitive’ in the system. If you’re an artist and love drawing/graphic design, then become the best artist you can be. If you love programming or engineering then become the best programmer/engineer you can be. Whatever it is you love doing, you would be able to spend most of your daily time on it, and at the same time benefiting the entire community with your efforts. All of our collective talents and efforts would be shared and absorbed by the entire community, and is reciprocated many times over.

Collaboration would spur innovation faster than competition
The main difference between competition and collaboration boils down to motive and purpose, the why.
In competition, a business's motivation to innovate is only to create a product better than the other company. If a company produces mediocre products, its competitor would just need to create a slightly better than mediocre product in order to be more competitive. This is like the trend with every auto-companies keep coming out with new cars that were basically the same as last year's model except with a few upgrades in looks and technology, but is still basically the same car that goes from point a to b.
This also applies to cellphones/smartphones and televisions. Just look at the new iPhone 6; it didn’t show any new groundbreaking innovation (I’m not trying to hate on Apple). Apple just doesn’t have the same standard for innovation ever since Steve Jobs passed.

With collaboration, the main motive is not about being better than the other companies, but innovating in order to achieve a vision of higher purpose that makes a beneficial impact to the whole society.
An example of this is Elon Musk's Tesla Motors. The main reason why he built Tesla is not because he wanted to make a better a car company than his competition. He built Tesla because of his vision of creating a sustainable future for transportation, and that mission is what drives him. [5] This also is why Tesla recently started to share its patents to any car company that wants to use it so that it can help speed up the innovation of electric vehicles and infrastructure. [6]
Also, let’s not forget about the man who inspired Tesla Motors, Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla was the man who invented AC current, radio, the electric motor, etc. [7] Most importantly, he had an ambition to share and transmit free electricity wirelessly to the whole world starting with his Wardenclyffe tower. But unfortunately, his financial backer J.P. Morgan stopped the project once he discovered Tesla’s true intentions. [8][9] This just shows how Tesla’s innovation was not motivated by competition, recognition, or money. His innovation and efforts was simply motivated by his vision of improving the world.

Yes, competition has helped spurred innovation in the past, but not as much as it potentially could moving forward if most of the companies and people collaborated. With collaboration, your competition is the problem itself. The focus is not earning more or having a higher ranking. Yes, so what if you beat the other person? But have you solved the problem? At the end of the day, solving problems that not only benefits you, but the whole entire community is far more significant and powerful, than competing for the single winner who gets the brownie points.












First, my apologies I did not intend to disregard your rule, just used to no rebuttal in the last round and assumed that's what you had meant.

Moving on. While it may be that the U.S. and Russia could have been more productive had they collaborated, the fact is that they didn't and we can speculate all we like as to how it would have played out, but cannot say anything with any degree of certainty. However before I go further I feel I must ask pro to again evaluate his resolution, as in the 2nd round the definition given for competition is as follows, - the rivalry among sellers trying to achieve such goals as increasing profits, market share, and sales volume by varying the elements of the marketing mix: price, product, distribution, and promotion. From this description my belief was that pro wished to discuss the competition vs. collaborative aspects of business. However reading pros analogies, all of which necessitate some sort of collaboration to combat there current situation, I find many of them do not tie back to the issue at hand.

Electrons in a semiconductor may move in the same direction, but is this an act of collaboration or is it just a physical property of the atom? Either way, how does it relate to the competition/collaboration of business? The same question I will apply to the human body analogy, even if it were the case that the body needed all organs to function, which is not as you can live just fine with one kidney and tonsil removal is fairly common.

I will agree with pro's point that most money is in the hands of a small portion of people, but that is a topic on distribution of wealth, and again we are supposed to be discussing whether business should collaborate rather than compete.

Coming back to the focus of the argument pro asserts that competition between business's means they'll only try to make better products than other companies, but it is not that simple. As I had already stated in round 2, competition is beneficial for the consumer rather than the corporation. Competition gives the consumer freedom of choice, which is good since we don't all like the same burgers. It also urges companies to keep prices lower, and more recently environmentalism has even become an aspect of a business's image.

Pro makes this aspect present in his example of Tesla Motors, who appeals to the more recent green movement. This is a car with intent of sustainability, whether or not it meets this goal is a topic for another debate, what's not for debate is whether this car is unique. Tesla was not the first to that party of electric cars, the first electric car produced was in 1867 and several have been produced since.

Nikola Tesla has many legends surrounding his name, the free energy one being of the most prominent. He did believe he could build it and did attempt it, and while it may be theoretically possible the energy produced would not be of great proportions, he also did not invent the electric motor as Michael Faraday had already invented it in 1821. But again I ask, what does this have to do with your resolution?

While pro has put out many arguments few pertain to the topic at hand, this is a large topic already so it does not help to dilute with other issues. Pro has also not clearly defined what he means by collaborating/competing business. While definitions were provided this does not tell us whether his idea of collaboration is to mean that we would have one company who produces cars, or that all car producers should share their information? What is the view of competition you are taking?
Debate Round No. 3


Apologies accepted bro. Sorry if you didn’t get the resolution, so let me clear it up.
I wasn’t arguing for businesses to collaborate. I’m arguing for a collaborative economic system that does away with business, since essentially businesses are still competitive by nature.

Resolution: A global economic system where collaboration is the fundamental principle is a far better system for the progress of humanity and solving problems than that of an economic system where competition is the fundamental principle (e.g., Capitalism).

The idea of a collaborative system is simple and doesn’t need to be complicated.
Remember my example scenario where you and your friends where stuck on an island?
DanK, you did agree that if you and your friends wished to survive on the island, the best approach would be to collaborate and not compete with each other. That analogy holds true with our reality, except it is just scaled much larger. Planet Earth is analogous to the island, and you and your friends who were stuck on the island are analogous to the population living on this Earth. Thus, if we (the people/humanity) wish to survive on this planet Earth, the best approach would be to collaborate and not compete with each other, just like you and your friends did on the island. Because really, there’s no difference between people on an island and people on a planet besides the size of the land and population. Fundamentally, they’re still both the same problem.

The electrons in the semiconductor is just an analogy and shouldn’t be compared literally, but figuratively. Of course, it’s just a physical property of the atom; the atoms don’t talk to each other and don’t actually collaborate. However, the point that I’m trying to make in the analogy is that humans are just like the electrons. When humans are competing against each other, our energies get divided, we move in our own independent directions, and many times we collide with each other (i.e. conflict), where ultimately our energies cancel each other out, producing little or no progress. This is exactly analogous to when the electrons move in their own random independent directions, causing them to collide with each other and cancel out their energies, resulting in no net kinetic energy flow.
But when humans collaborate, it is analogous to an electric field being applied to the semiconductor which causes electrons to start moving towards the same direction. Because all the electrons’ energies are now moving in the same direction, it finally produces net current and energy. Human progress is analogous to the flowing current and kinetic energy, which is only produced when humans start moving in a unified direction and work together toward a common goal of solving human problems.

“Competition gives the consumer freedom of choice, which is good since we don't all like the same burgers.”
Yes, competition can also give us freedom of choice, but that doesn’t mean in a collaborative system everyone has to eat the same burgers. A collaborative system has nothing to do with the preconceived notion that most people have such as with communism, where everybody will live in the same exact house, drive the same car, wear the same clothes, eat the same meals, etc. People in a collaborative system would still be able to make choices according to their own personal likes and tastes.
However, there would still be a limit to the degree that people can choose. Yes we all want freedom of choice, but we all know the world is finite. Ex. People woudn’t choose to own 10 houses and 20 Ferraris. In a collaborative system, your freedom to choose would be only as free as what the environment or planet can provide and sustain (ie. its capacity). Today in our competitive economic system, many people think and act as if our planet has infinite amount of resources where we can just continuously produce infinite products to buy and sell, without any regard to the physical limitations of the environment and planet. If humans continue at the current rate, by around 2030’s the world will need the equivalent resources of about two planet Earths in order to sustain our way of living.[1] Additionally if the entire world population today lived like Americans (this is in general; nothing against Americans), the world would require the equivalent resources of about five Earths. [2]
Does this mean we all have to go back to the pre-industrial age where people all live in small villages and ride horses because it would be sustainable? No, of course not, but at the same time we can’t just keep consuming resources more than what our planet can provide. So if we want to keep our cars and technologies, how are we supposed to make society sustainable?
That’s where human collaboration, along with our knowledge of science and engineering comes in. In order society to become sustainable and not over-consume the resources of the planet, we would need to use our resources as efficiently as possible. For example, lets start with cars. On average, most people drive their cars only for about an hour each day.[3] Throughout most of the day, we are not driving and cars are just parked. If you look outside, many parking lots are filled with cars that are just sitting there unused. [4][5] This is not efficient at all. Instead of just sitting there, cars could be used by other people. Today we have the technology of self-driving automated cars (e.g. Google Cars) which can be connected to the internet and use data from the network to determine who might need to use a car at what time. [6]

Let me give a scenario. lets say on a typical day, I work from 9am to 5pm. The car would drop me off at work at 9am, and while I’m at work, it would go to other people to give them rides, and return back by 5pm. Computers would do all the planning and calculations for the times of the rides and the destinations. Now if for some reason I suddenly have to use a car before 5pm (say I wanted to go out for lunch), I can just use an app on my smartphone, press a button, and the nearest car available can come to pick me up (it doesn’t always necessarily have to be the same car that I used to get to work). With this system, it is way more efficient and society can produce significantly less cars, and use less resources. We don’t need to keep buying new cars every year, and every person doesn’t need to own their own car. Most people just care about access, and a collaborative system is about using technology to make more efficient systems that optimally allocates resources to where people need access.

“Tesla was not the first to that party of electric cars, the first electric car produced was in 1867 and several have been produced since.”
I never said that Tesla was the first to create electric cars, nor is that the point. Yes electric cars have been around for more than a century. My point with Tesla Motors was that Elon Musk started the company with a collaborative mindset. He didn’t built Tesla with the mission of beating competitors and making as much profit as he can. No, his primary mission is to help make society’s transportation system become clean and sustainable. That mission is what gets him out of his bed every morning. This is also why he proposed the Hyperloop, which was supposed to be a significantly cheaper, and more efficient alternative to the California High Speed Rail. Additionally, he made the Hyperloop plan open source so that other people can collaborate. [7]

“he also did not invent the electric motor as Michael Faraday had already invented it in 1821. But again I ask, what does this have to do with your resolution?”
Yes, Michael Faraday was the first to discover electromagnetic induction and did create simple electromagnetic devices. However it was Tesla that built the first practical AC induction electric motor. But again that’s not the point. My point was that Tesla didn’t work on the things he invented, because he wanted to ‘compete’ and make a profit.
He did it because he had a collaborative mindset, and wanted to find a solution to a problem so that it can improve humanity. Ex., He invented the AC induction motor (AC current), which solved the problem of distributing electricity at long distances, and today the whole world uses AC current to distribute electricity. Ultimately the point is that real progress truly comes when our main effort is not to beat anyone, but to collaborate and improve society. [8]

Ubuntu Movement
Today there is a growing movement in South Africa called the Ubuntu liberation movement which was founded by Michael Tellinger. The movement’s goal is to start building communities based on the Ubuntu principle of “humanity towards others”. (This is where Linux’s most popular OS got its name, Ubuntu). [9][10][11]

In conclusion, my opponent keeps complaining about my resolution which I have stated is an economic system based on collaboration vs. an economic system based on competition. Also I posted this debate on the economics section, so clearly I’m implying an economic system - collaborative vs. competitive. Furthermore, the opponent has made a lot criticisms on my arguments, but not has not really argued and proven his part on why competition is better than collaboration.
In closing, I would like to thank DanK for participating in this debate.



While pro concludes that he has in fact stated and supported his resolution, which started simply with collaboration vs competition, which moved to collaboration and competition in business, and finishes with a global economy based on collaboration vs one based on competition. The latter being a ridiculous stance to argue, as you can't have a competitive business with only competition. Of these resolutions none was made clear to me through any of pro's many analogies, this is not to say that they weren't there, just that they were not tied to the resolution. It may have been helpful if he were pointing to economic models which supported his ideology rather than vague thought projects.

The collaborative world pro seeks does exist within this one, the people of Anuta work on what is called a gift economy, this essentially means that everyone works and everyone shares. I agree that this system can work, however this is on a very small scale (population 300). However to turn an industrialized country to that sort of ideology is a highly improbable task. This is not too say that small communities couldn't exist along side those who choose to live differently. The problem here is pro is arguing the whole world follow his ideology, which may very well have benefits, but doesn't fit with others desired lifestyles. This is why it important to have theses different cultures, it allows anyone on this little rock to find like minded people who share their world views.

A strictly competitive world, where it would literally be every man for himself is unlikely to exist since even for a moment you may need to collaborate with another in order to further yourself. I will agree with pro that humans will do best when we stop fighting each other and work together, however I don't believe that it follows that competition should be eliminated.

While pro argued the side of collaborative economies, what I feel was really presented was the flexibility of the words, as I tried to demonstrate in round 2. While saying Tesla had a collaborative mind may sound meaningful it does not say what is meant when speaking of a collaborative mind.

Finally I will thank pro for hosting this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
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