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Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
13 Points

Competition is superior to cooperation as a means of achieving excellence

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 12,557 times Debate No: 12531
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)




The US Constitution–what America is founded upon, and what is perhaps one of the greatest documents ever written by men–sets guidelines for our government. The Founding Fathers deemed excellence for the majority so important, that Section 8 of Article 1 states that the duty of Congress is, "to provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the United States." Because the general welfare allows us to know when we have reached our goal, and because cooperation is the superior means of achieving excellence, I stand resolved: that cooperation is superior to competition as a means of achieving excellence.

For clarification, definitions include:
Competition: "to compete" –> "strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same." New Oxford American
Cooperation: "working together for a common purpose; activity shared for mutual benefit.", Random House
Superior: "greater in quantity or importance; surpassing others in ability" (Merriam-Webster/NOA)
Means: "an action by which a result is brought about." New Oxford American
Excellence: "possessing good qualities in high degree" Princeton Wordnet

We are determining today whether competition or cooperation is the superior means of achieving excellence; my stance is that cooperation is the superior means of achieving excellence for several reasons. This, however, begs the question, what is excellence? Yes, it is "good qualities in high degree," but what is "good" is often relative to a point of view. Excellence for one person may not be excellence for another–as the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure! What exactly are good qualities, and how can we measure them if they differ from person to person?

My standard by which to measure excellence is through General Welfare, defined as "the greatest good, as ordained by precepts of natural law (a body of unchanging moral principles, regarded as a basis for all human conduct), for the greatest number of people." General welfare lets us know when we have reached excellence, like a road sign that lets you know when you have reached the city you are traveling to. Without it, you could keep on driving and miss your goal completely. With the general welfare, we know that excellence has been achieved when the majority benefits. So how exactly is cooperation superior? We can see this in 3 main points.

1: Cooperation focuses on everyone
Cooperation, by definition, focuses on working with others, often for a common goal or benefit, and thus allows excellence for the majority, or the general welfare, to be achieved. Competition, on the other hand, inherently focuses on victory and winning, since competition is rivalry for an object or goal–this focuses on the individual. While businesses compete with each other in the market, the resolution asks for the *means* of achieving excellence, and the act of rivalry is not what achieves excellence. Rather, the employees cooperating with each other to create products, the cooperative laws, and the business cooperating with the consumer to create an excellent product so that both will be benefited are the means of achieving excellence. Competition's mindset requires us to rival with or defeat others to achieve excellence, whereas cooperation focuses on everyone, and is thus the best tool that upholds the general welfare, making cooperation superior to competition as a means of achieving excellence.

2: Competition requires cooperation

The oppressive and inefficient Communist government is most often thought of in terms of the Soviet Union. Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, pointed out why it is so inefficient: because everything–materials, labor, tools, etc.–is owned by the Communist government–the resources are not exchangeable. A market, however, is by definition a cooperative exchange of goods and services–working together for mutual benefit. Not only do Communist countries lack cooperation, but the government actually competes against the people, and the general welfare is not upheld, excellence is actually harmed. In America, the government–for the most part–cooperates with the will of the people, as that is a government's job. While officials are put into power by competitive elections, we only find that competition to be helpful if the government then cooperates more with the people, and thus excellence for the majority to be upheld. Competition is only good to the extent that it furthers cooperation (cooperation which then leads to excellence).

3: Cooperation stands alone

While competition requires cooperation, cooperation can achieve excellence without the aid of competition. In personal relationships and marriages, cooperation is able to achieve excellence without the aid of competition. Competition applied to these situations actually ends up being destructive. Or, in relief groups and emergency relief efforts as were seen following the Haiti earthquakes, aid agencies didn't compete, but rather cooperated with each other to save the most lives–cooperation achieves excellence without competition, and is the superior means.

We've seen that cooperation focuses on the majority, whereas competition focuses on victory for the individual. We only find competition to be helpful if it leads us to cooperate, which leads to excellence, and if it is restrained by cooperation, such as in the form of laws. Cooperation achieves excellence on it's own, competition doesn't. Cooperation is the superior means of achieving excellence.


My opponent is new to the DDO site. Welcome! I'm looking forward to a good debate.

Con has selected the Lincoln-Douglas (LD) high school debate topic for the 2009-2010 season. While the topic is familiar to high school debaters, it is new to me, and I think it is an interesting one. I won't use the official LD style, which was not specified as a condition for the debate, but I will try to use something similar.

I accept Con's definitions of the six key terms. I accept "general welfare" as the standard.

I will begin with two affirmative contentions, then address Con's contentions.

A1. The only practical way to determine "excellence" is by competition

There are some exceptions, but in almost all cases the method or product that is best cannot be determined without experimentation and improvement. Products only evolve towards excellence under competitive pressure. Consider smart phones:

Motorola invented the Droid[tm] to compete with Apple's iPhone[tm]. The original iPhone was a fine product, but it lacked multi-tasking. The Droid added that feature and also a higher resolution screen. Apple brought out the iPhone 4 which added those features. But the iPhone 4 has a problem with signal reception. Apple's first response was to tell customers to hold the phone in a certain way to avoid the problem. The Droid doesn't have that problem, but the Droid doesn't have a cam on the front which the iPhone 4 does ... and so competition continues. Without competition there would be little reason to seek improvements.

Would it have improved the general welfare if Motorola had not decided to compete? Clearly not, because no one would be offering a different concept of "high standards." Could a government agency have invented the iPhone in the first place without competitive pressure? We can judge that by looking at the productive outputs of government agencies. They have no pressing need to innovate, because without competition anything they do can be judged "excellent" without worries of someone else bettering them.

The problem lies in knowing what the "general welfare" is and what the "good qualities" are that lead to excellence. In the smart phone example, no one group knows in advance the relative importance of multi-tasking, two cams, screen resolution, and signal reception ... and dozens of other features. Only competition determines that. Moreover, competition provides a variety of solutions satisfying different definitions of what constitutes excellence.

A2. Only authoritarianism can suppress competition

When a group reaches a consensus, it is natural that someone will disagree and want to set out to provide a solution that the person thinks is better. The model of cooperation does cannot allow competition, so the potential competitor must be suppressed. In all known examples of "cooperation" on a large scale, Dear Leader (some authoritarian figure) decides what constitutes the general welfare. Con acknowledges this implicitly in citing "oppressive and inefficient Communist government." Con does not acknowledge that this is an inherent and inescapable problem of so-called "cooperative" approaches.

In the competitive model, there must also be a means of reaching a specific solution to a problem for a team to pursue. The difference is that anyone who feels strongly that the solution is wrong can leave and become a competitor or join a competing team.

N1. Con claims "Cooperation focuses on everyone"

There is no such thing as focusing on everyone, because "focus" means narrowing down to one thing, while "everyone" means expanding to multiple viewpoints and considerations. It does mean disallowing competition.

N2. Con claims "Competition requires cooperation"

Competition requires a level of cooperation on each of the competing approaches. That's fine. and it doesn't contradict the ultimate use of competition as a means of achieving excellence. It is only when competition is suppressed that we lose the pursuit of excellence. Without competition, either Dear Leaders ideas are imposed or consensus thinking is entrenched.

Con contends that a marketplace requires cooperation. A marketplace requires some minor cooperation, but it predominantly requires competitors providing diverse ideas and products. Those competing offers are not anticipated by either an authoritarian leader or a voted consensus. The developers do not know what will best promote the general welfare, and the users do not know ahead of time what best serves them. Only a competitive marketplace sorts out what is best.

N3. Con claims "Cooperation stands alone"

Since cooperation requires the highest level of working together, the idea that it stands alone is odd. It is only "alone" in the sense that "cooperation suppresses dissent."
Con's points to cooperation being better for things like emergency relief to Haiti. In those cases there is little dispute over what the short term objectives are. If one gets to a longer term objective, say, rebuilding Haiti, competitive projects would be superior, because no one is sure what works best. "Cooperation" ensures that group-think dominates and unconventional thinking is suppressed.

Con's only other example is in personal relationships. "Excellence" in a personal relationship is defined solely by the people involved, a small number. The "general welfare" is not at issue. Because there are only a few people involved, most often two, and there no concept of excellence beyond what the people work out. That's not like developing a product for a market where competing solutions are offered, and some succeed and others fail. It's not comparable to any situation involving large groups.


Competition is critical to achieving excellence because no one knows in advance what best serves the general welfare. Without competition, there is no way to guarantee that the authoritarian or consensus solution arrived as a product of "cooperation" will be improved. With competition, the marketplace determines what it wants, not some elite. The general welfare may be best served by having multiple products or solutions suiting different situations. Only competition provides the right combination of solutions.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you! I look forward to a good debate as well.

I will start by firstly refuting the arguments my opponent has made, and then returning to my original arguments and showing why my (the Con) side of the resolution ought to win.

Refutation against Argument 1: My opponent claims that the only practical way to determine excellence is by competition.
Now, this may have been a simple difference of semantics, but we are attempting to *achieve* excellence, not just determine what it is (as the resolution states). I'll assume my opponent meant "achieve."

My opponent brought up the example of business to support his argument that competition achieves excellence.
My response to this is simple: cooperation is the means.

I also happened to use a similar example; that of business, in my own case. My argument stated that, while competition can provide an incentive, in the situation of government, competition is not the means, or the "action by which a result is brought about." If, for example, we consider an iPhone and Droid as excellent products, the question of the resolution remains: which one is the superior means, the better action, of achieving the goal of excellence? While competition from a tangible rival certainly provided an incentive to achieve excellence, incentive and achievement are two different things. The excellent phones were actually made through cooperation: employees working together to make the products, engineers working to design the products, and then ultimately, the businesses end goal: cooperation with the consumer; working together for mutual benefit (business gets a profit, consumer gets a phone).

My response to my opponent's argument of general welfare and competition is this: once again, my opponent showed how competition provided a "need to innovate," but not how the competition was actually the means. You can be motivated and fail to do something. Cooperation provides the action the resolution asks for. In the end, the business is also motivated not only by competition, but primarily by profit incentive–through cooperation. Business is motivated because of the desire for a profit, and thus must make an excellent product–or go out of business.

My opponent's next argument about not knowing what general welfare and good qualities are doesn't quite add up: the general welfare is basically the greatest good for the greatest number of people; people can (and do) receive benefits without having a competitive rival. My opponent alludes to the fact that excellence is relative, which it is: but we *know* when we reach excellence when the majority has benefited (general welfare).

Refutation against Argument 2: My opponent's second argument essentially equated cooperation with authoritarianism (defined by the New American Oxford as "favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, esp. that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom; showing a lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others; domineering; dictatorial") and this statement is simply false–cooperation is working for a mutual benefit for those involved, not making servants, essentially, out of people.

My opponent says that if there is a group cooperating on something, it is natural for someone to disagree. This is not always the case. If, however, it is, we must refer to the standard of general welfare: would the competition–the disagreement–or the cooperation–which is currently in place–best benefit the group? Obviously cooperation, as the group has already made a consensus as to what will provide them the greatest benefit.

My opponent claimed in cooperation, a "Dear Leader" or a dictatorial person will decide what is the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This is incorrect: Hitler *believed* that he was acting for the general welfare. But he wasn't–he murdered millions of people. Just because someone says or believes they are upholding general welfare is *not* the same as actually doing it. Communism's mindset is a form of equality, not cooperation. This mindset devolves into a competitive one as the government rivals with the people for control (obviously, the government wins since they are the stronger force).

Let's see why the Con case still stands:

P1: My first point referred to how cooperation's mindset focuses on everyone involved; my opponent said focus means to look only at one thing. This is simply technicality; in fact, focus is defined (New Oxford American) as "the center of interest or activity." This doesn't mean just "one thing." Cooperation does, in fact, focus on benefiting everyone in the group. Why? Because of it's nature: *working together for mutual benefit.* Everyone works for their own benefit as well as the rest of the group's benefit. This upholds general welfare, and through that, excellence.

P2: Competition requires cooperation
Pro's authoritarian example, I have already addressed. My opponent didn't address my point of how Communist government's compete with the people they should be cooperating with. This still stands.

The market example once again comes up, and once again, competition has only been shown to provide a motivation and incentive. I agree, competition can be and is a good thing in the market; the fact remains that cooperation is the means of achieving excellence.

Developers do know what promotes general welfare: through cooperation. Once again, businesses must cooperate with consumers so that both will be benefited, and when the consumers aren't satisfied, the business steps up quality.

My original argument was unaddressed: as I put it, "competition is only good to the extent that it furthers cooperation." In business, companies can compete–Enron competed–but if they don't cooperate to benefit their consumers, they fail to achieve excellence.

P3: Cooperation stands alone
Pro made a few statements saying that cooperation suppresses dissent, or competition. Going back to my 2nd Point, that competition *is only good* insofar as it leads to more cooperation. Once again, my argument wasn't really addressed: cooperation stands alone; is able to achieve excellence by itself, while competition must lead to cooperation in order to be helpful. Pro said that cooperation encourages "group-think," which is in fact, a lack of thinking (defined as "the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.") This is rather a lack of cooperation–cooperation requires working together for a mutual benefit. Cooperation is not a lack of thinking. Rather, you must think in order to reach a common benefit.

My opponent claimed that excellence in personal relationships is relative. While people do have different concepts of benefit, in a marriage for example, the two parties must work together, cooperate, for a mutual benefit, in order for there to be excellence. The situation still applies. As I did compare it to competition, we simply see that competition fails in personal relationships.


While as I said, competition may provide incentive and a motivation (cooperation in business also does, because of the incentive to please the consumer), we haven't seen why competition is the *means* or action of achieving that excellence. My opponent said "no one knows in advance what best serves the general welfare." We do know: when the greatest number of people (majority or more) have received benefit. Cooperation is working together for mutual benefit–these two go hand-in-hand. No "elite" determines things in cooperation; this is a flaw in my opponent's argumentation: that cooperation is domination of others by one. No, cooperation works with everyone so that everyone may benefit. If there is no mutual benefit, it is not cooperation.
Cooperation has been proven to be the superior tool in business, government, and personal relationships. Cooperation is the superior means, the action that the r


A1. The only practical way to determine "excellence" is by competition

Achieving excellence has two parts: (1) knowing what excellence is, and (2) working towards implementing it. The part where cooperation fails is knowing what excellence is. Con simply ignores the requirement to know what excellence is. Saying that excellence is whatever most benefits the general welfare is only the goal. That does not tell anyone what to do. Does the iPhone or the Droid provide the most improvement to the general welfare? Without a competitive marketplace, there is no way to ever know. The requirements are so complex and the needs of the general public so diverse, it is impossible for an authoritarian government, a committee working by a consensus or a poll of consumers to get it right ahead of time. Moreover, the common case is the the general welfare is best improved by having multiple products. A competitive marketplace will determine how many, and what each should be.

Con ignores the whole problem of knowing what best promotes the general welfare. He argues that for some reason one can ignore that part of the problem and interpret "achieving" as beginning from the starting point of knowing exactly what ought to be done. If it were true that cooperating in achieving any defined goal produced excellence, then authoritarian regimes would always achieve excellence, and quite clearly they do not. Competition is absolutely essential to achieving excellence, because it is the only way to find out what the excellent is.

Con is interpreting the resolution as if it said, "Assuming we know what to do to achieve excellence and everyone agrees what that is, then after that the best way to implement it is through cooperation." That is not a reasonable interpretation of the resolution because it would lead to wildly unrealistic debates. It would be along the lines of a resolution that asserts, "The best way to achieve excellence is to follow the will of God, assuming each person knows what the will of God is and all agree." Sure, but it is far too removed from the real world to be subject to a rational debate.

In our resolution, if everyone knew and accepted what best improved the general welfare, no one would want to break out on his own. There would be reason to compete. Thus, the resolution would become equivalent to, "If there is no reason to compete, is competition better than cooperation." That is nonsensical, so it cannot be correct interpretation.

A2. Only authoritarianism can suppress competition

I did not equate cooperation with authoritarianism. I said that cooperation has no means of dealing with dissent other than authoritarian suppression. I granted their are some few cases where both the goal and the methods are so clear that no one wants to dissent. If the people of Haiti need food and water, the obvious thing to do is to ship it in. Dissent will be virtually nonexistent, so there is no need for dealing with it. However, such cases are rare.

Most of the time, even if a numerical majority agrees, there will be dissenters. If the model is competition, then the dissenters can leave and form their won team or join a competing team. Con argues that the resolution implies that everyone knows perfectly exactly what best promotes the general welfare, and therefore there will be no dissent. Of course, that situation has never occurred on any country on earth and there is no chance it ever will occur. We are not debating hopelessly idealized societies, we are debating real ones ... right?

In real societies, competition gives dissenters a place to go, and that greatly raises the general welfare both in terms of providing alternative solutions and making dissenters more content. The general welfare cannot be best improved by suppressing dissenters.

N1. Con argues that cooperation means everyone focuses on achieving the general welfare, unlike competition. If so, then Con should tell us whether it is Apple's iPhone that was developed without concern for the public, or was it Motorola's Droid? I claim that both were equally attempting to improve the general welfare, and that competition in fact produced the greatest benefit.

N2. Con claims that Communist governments failed because they didn't "cooperate" with the people. That is incorrect. Neither the government or the people knows ahead of time what to do that best benefits the general welfare. Only competition can discover that. Authoritarian rulers would like their countries to be prosperous; that gives them more power. Only competition reveals how to achieve it.

N3. Con proposes a contradiction, claiming that cooperation is best because people think alike, while at the same time cooperation does not require people to think alike. Is the theory that some people can offer diverse ideas, but once the consensus asserts the common plan, then those whose ideas are rejected will not want to pursue them? That does not happen in the real world.

In a relationship, like a marriage, the goal is not the general welfare of society. The goal is accommodating the views and goals of two people in a satisfactory way. The example does not apply.


Con's case is built upon the preposterous assumption that everyone knows or will soon come to recognize what promotes the general welfare. He cannot and does not explain any case of how the general welfare of society is best improved through cooperation alone. That applies to everything from competitive political elections to product development. Once goals and methods are agreed upon, then cooperation will follow from that point, because there is then no reason to compete. The important, indeed critical, step to achieving excellence is competition.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 2


Refutation of A1: My opponent claims that we can't know what excellence is unless we have competing ideas, while in fact, we both agreed at the beginning of this debate that excellence is: "Good qualities in high degree," and that general welfare is, "the greatest good, as ordained by precepts of natural law, for the greatest number of people." We use the standard of the general welfare to know when we achieve excellence, or in the terms my opponent is using, we can know what excellence is–the greatest good for the greatest number of people. My opponent seems to be under the impression that we are debating over progress, innovation, and improvement–all forms of a process. While competition certainly can give us a reason to improve, we must ask, "is competition the means of achieving excellence?" As showed earlier, the answer is no. Cooperation is what allows us to achieve the general welfare. If Motorola comes out with Droid one day, and the majority of the people consider it "excellent," then the general welfare has been upheld. If Apple makes the iPhone 4 and it's even better than the Droid, then that constitutes an improvement made by cooperation. While competition drives businesses on to make better products, the way they *make* the excellent products is through cooperation! This argument was completely unaddressed by Pro and still stands in our debate to prove the Con side of the resolution.

My opponent agreed to the standard of general welfare to determine what and when we achieve excellence, but then he says "Con ignores the whole problem of knowing what best promotes the general welfare." Pro is making a simple situation very complex while ignoring the true essence of my arguments–general welfare is the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Call it what you will, but that is what general welfare is!
If we are considering a goal in which the majority of people benefit, it is just logical to look at cooperation, which involves an association of people, actively working and making an effort to not only benefit themselves, but others–mutual benefit.

Refutation of A2: My opponent has repeatedly compared cooperation to authoritarian governments: once again, a false premise. Having completely ignored the definition of his own term (favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority), he then attempts to vaguely link "working together for mutual benefit" with "forcing others to obey one person." This is simply an irrational and illogical statement, not to mention the definitions are practically complete opposites. My opponent then makes a blatant contradiction in his opening of his previous speech: "I did not equate cooperation with authoritarianism," but yet (in the same speech) he said, "If it were true that cooperating in achieving any defined goal produced excellence, then authoritarian regimes would always achieve excellence, and quite clearly they do not." My opponent seems to be confusing competition–"strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same,"–and a friendly comparison of ideas that can and often does take place in cooperation. Cooperation allows people to think, unlike my opponent tries to paint it. In fact, because cooperation is working to achieve a mutual benefit, everyone must contribute in order to achieve that. It's a simple fact.

Pro again makes the argument regarding "Con assumes everyone knows perfectly what best promotes general welfare," and once again ignores the fact that general welfare is simply the greatest good for the majority. Apple moved from the original iPhone to the 2G, 3G, 3GS, and now 4. They didn't have to compete to know what their consumers wanted; they simply worked to achieve mutual benefit between them and the consumers. Happier consumers = better-off Apple = benefit for everyone = general welfare.

Now let's move on to my case and voting issues and see why cooperation is the superior means of achieving excellence:

Voting Issue 1: Cooperation focuses on everyone
Apple's iPhone 4 was developed with general welfare in mind, but because of the poor antenna design that Apple refuses to cooperate with consumers over, Apple's image is being hurt and people are having some trouble with making calls. All businesses must make profit or go out of business–the key is to focus first on the satisfaction of the consumer, and then the profit, because with the former comes the latter. A primary focus on "being the best" and "trying to beat everyone else," results in less focus on the consumer, less cooperation, and thus less general welfare. Motorola must still cooperate for mutual benefit with the consumer if they want to achieve excellence through the general welfare (not to mention to simply cooperate to make the phone). Cooperation focuses on everyone, mutual benefit, and thus is logically the best way to uphold majority benefit; general welfare.

Voting Issue 2: Competition requires cooperation
Pro says that since no one knows what is best for the majority, you must compete. However, who knows what the people want, but the people? A government has two options: to work for the benefit of the people, who will in turn, elect the official that benefits them or, as we see in Communist societies where the government strives against the people to be in control, competes and wins. Pro only addressed my example under this point. While I have repeatedly said that competition can be helpful, such as in the American government that has a level of competition built in, that competition is worthless if the government doesn't then cooperate more with the people as a result, thus leading to the general welfare.

Voting Issue 3: Cooperation stands alone
I didn't claim people think "group-think" as Pro put it (or don't think at all), rather that in cooperation people work together to find a result that benefits all of them. In the instance that someone has a different idea, or competes, they are free to leave and make their own group: the original group majority will still be benefited, thus the general welfare, and it is still up to the dissenting individual to provide an alternative that cooperates as much or more than the original group. General welfare can refer to any situation where the majority of those involved benefit, not just society. When all else fades away, all we are left with is not our phones, not our government, but our relationships with others–the key achieving factor of which is cooperation, not competition. Marriage does apply, and is a perfectly valid example of how competition fails while cooperation stands alone in achieving excellence.

Voting Issue 4: Arguments
Pro's case is built on the illogical argument that authoritarianism is the same as cooperation, despite his attempts to deny this. He has in fact, ignored cooperation's definition, "working together for mutual benefit." My case, on the other hand, doesn't assume that "everyone knows what the general welfare is and agrees to not think," but rather simply points out that the general welfare is simply benefit for the majority. In business, you must cooperate to make products and to satisfy the majority–general welfare. In government, you must cooperate to have ideas and satisfy the majority, and in a relationship, you must cooperate for there to be a mutual benefit.

My arguments still stand: cooperation's inherent focus on everyone results in a majority benefit, competition is only good if it leads to cooperation; all the examples of my opponent can be summed up in this way, and cooperation, not competition, has been shown to be the true means–action–of achieving excellence–this argument was also dropped by my opponent and should be considered a win for the Con.

I have negated the resolution, and cooperation is truly the superior means of achieving excellence. I ask you to vote Con at the end of this debate round–for the means of achieving e


A1: We did not agree on what excellence is. We agreed to the standard for measuring it. The standard for being the fastest runner is the shortest time to cover the distance of the race. That tells nothing about how to achieve the fastest time. The standard for being the best physician is curing the most patients. That says nothing about how to achieve it. there is no way to determine excellence other than by competition.

Con never disputed that fact that competition is absolutely essential to determining what the greatest good is for the greatest number of people. He claimed that knowing the specific path to excellence is irrelevant to the debate. I challenged con to describe how cooperation would determine what to do in any specific case. For example, does the greatest good for the greatest number require that we build iPhones, Droids, some of each, an altogether different product, or no smart phones at all? Con could not answer the question. No one can answer the question. Only competition in a free market can answer the question, and it does so consistently. That is the only mechanism that allows the people to determine by their own standards what is good for them.

The resolution questions the "means of achieving excellence." It is not, as Con claims, about the standard for measuring excellence. Excellence can only be achieved by actually doing something, not by contemplating the standard by which an effort might be measured. Only competition determines what excellence is, so only competition can achieve excellence. Abstract understanding of goals does not equate to "achievement." Achievement is attaining goals. Con's argument therefore fails.

A2: Con is completely wrong in his claim that I compared cooperation to authoritarianism. I offered several possible alternatives for possibly determining what to do to achieve excellence, absent competition. One alternative is authoritarian decision making. Then we should, presumably, all cooperate in doing what the authoritarian figure wants. I also offered the possibility of adopting consensus among those developing the product or service, and I offered the possibility of determining a consensus among potential consumers. All of the methods of determining what we ought to work cooperatively upon fail. The authoritarian isn't smart enough to know, the group consensus avoids innovation, and the users only know goals not methods. Only competition determines what is best.

I pointed out that if the specific choice of what to do were unimportant, then authoritarian regimes would always be excellent. That's not true, so we know that the choice matters. The same argument applies to choosing what to do by developer consensus or consumer poll. If developer consensus were reliable, then every product would be excellent. If consumers were reliable, they would always demand the right set of new features that were not yet on the market. that doesn't happen either. The point is that only market competition allows excellence to be achieved. I did not equate authoritarianism with cooperation, I only claimed it was one of the methods that did not achieve excellence. Con never said how excellence could be achieved within the framework of "cooperation." It cannot.

I also claimed that cooperation necessarily suppresses dissent, and that dissent provides innovation. I asked what happens to the person who does not want to go along with whatever he is supposed to cooperate with. If competition is allowed, the dissenter can compete. If only cooperation is allowed, the dissenter must be suppressed. Con offered no other choice. There is no other choice.

N1: Of course products are developed with the consumer in mind. No one knows ahead of time what combination of price and features will best please the consumer. Even the consumer does not know. Therefore competing products must be introduced to find out what provides the best solution. Given that consumers have different needs, a single solution is unlikely to be best for everyone. Competition provides multiple solutions. Cooperation suppresses alternatives.

N2: Con asks, "However, who knows what the people want, but the people?" The problem is that the people do not generally know in advance what they want. Ask people what they want and they will always choose to have every possible feature and benefit at no cost. Only competition requires people to choose from among what is possible. Con only concedes that competition "can be helpful." That's not true. Competition is essential to determining what is best.

N3: Con offers, "In the instance that someone has a different idea, or competes, they are free to leave and make their own group: the original group majority will still be benefited, thus the general welfare, and it is still up to the dissenting individual to provide an alternative that cooperates as much or more than the original group." Either the dissenter is allowed to produce a product and compete, or he is not. If he is allowed to compete, then the people who consume the product get to make the ultimate choice. Con only allows dissenters to provide solutions that cooperate with the original group. Thus you may disagree temporarily so long as you end up cooperating. However, everyone knows of consensus decisions that are dead wrong. The escape is competition.

In this debate Con never gave an example of how cooperation could be assured of producing excellence. He relied on the useless generality of doing whatever benefits the most people, without any means of knowing or discovering what that is.. By contrast, it is easy to explain how competition achieves excellence. People develop different ideas of what is best, and the people get to choose among them which one they judge to best suit their needs. Competition is required as a means of achieving excellence.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by darnocs1 6 years ago
My apologies.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Your vote was everything a tie, which tells me that you inadvertently hit the "Cast My Vote" with a stray mouse click. Always keep the mouse properly holstered when not in use.
Posted by darnocs1 6 years ago
Somehow my "vote" was cast, despite the fact I didn't vote.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Spaztoid, In economics, the opposites of competition are monopoly and socialism. Some argue that those are good things, but I wouldn't.
Posted by Spaztoid 6 years ago
This is a good debate in concept, though I think Pro would have done better to keep off of the topic of economics.
Posted by rbrownell 6 years ago
I've done this debate before while I was on the is an awful definition battle. I'm afraid the term "excellence" can ruin the whole thing.
Posted by Grape 6 years ago
I do not agree with your definition of excellence. Otherwise I would take this right away. I am really rushed for time right now but if it's still here later tonight I'll take it. However, I know a lot of people on this site that will jump all over this.
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