Quote of the day: Competitive Metaphor

A quote likening competition as an evolutionary principle to the rockets of a launching space shuttle.

frack0verflow asks in /r/anarchism:

Surely it could be argued that competition is an evolutionary imperative?

and ytinas responds:

Perhaps it was, but even if that were the case it wouldn’t mean we still need it. When a (US) shuttle launches into space it has huge rocket boosters/tank attached. Without these it couldn’t overcome earth’s gravity, but at some point they become a drag on progress.

It may well be that we needed war, state and conflict to get us going down the technology road. Once upon a time capitalism gave us the light bulb, the phone, the car, the computer. Today it gives us the DMCA, DVD region codes, copy rights, Internet censorship. It’s very clear (at least to me) that it has stopped rapidly moving us forward and is actually slowing down progression. It’s time to disconnect the boosters and move to the next stage.

5 thoughts on “Quote of the day: Competitive Metaphor”

  1. How do we know that "the light bulb, the phone, the car, the computer" exist because of competition in the first place? How do we know that these things couldn't arise in a less competitive system? It seems to me as an unfounded assertion more than anything.

    1. True but I take a more deterministic view of history. There's no point imagining "what if" because it obviously ended up this way because what happened ended up being more memetically competent.

    2. We don't but that's why I worded my comment the way I did. We can't prove we wouldn't be even further along had we dropped capitalism, but these things *were* developed under capitalism.

      My point wasn't that war/capitalism/state are good and we needed them to bootstrap us. There is no way to prove that now one way or another. My point was that even if that were the case it clearly isn't anymore.

  2. I feel uncomfortable with this line of argument – I remember Chomsky mentioning that just because a society advances doesn't justify that society's practices (e.g. if it practiced slavery). The uncomfortable implication is that the state and war were somehow necessary – that it was _good_ that states existed in order to propel us to this point. Kind of an "ends justify the means" approach almost.

    1. Anon73: You're missing my point. I'm not convinced that war/state/etc. were good and I don't think it's possible to prove one way or another. The point was that fighting over whether it helped or not is pointless as even if it *were* true that says nothing about if it's still needed or not.

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