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CHAP.
XV

Limitation upon the Expenditure of

tic Effort

seers, prophets and founders of religion has been to draw mankind away from hatred and strife into the paths of amity and peace.

It is possible, however, to eliminate or curb this noxious feature

without suppressing contest itself. Intercollegiate athletics may Antagonis- be kept from degenerating into a matching of purses by barring

players who receive financial inducement to attend college and by so limiting the training period as to avoid an excessive loss of time in preparation. The anti-intellectual tendencies in public joint debate are held in check by rules forbidding "personalities” and excluding everything foreign to the question. The law denies appeal from a court decision when the value in dispute is small. Party managers agree to buy no votes. Laws which limit

. the amount of campaign expenditure save opposing candidates from ruining themselves in a political contest or becoming bound to selfish moneyed interests which contribute to both parties. Rival railroads agree to close their needless downtown offices. " Legalized pooling" or commission-fixing of minimum as well as maximum rates restrain them from rushing into receivership via rate“ wars.” After a series of industrially lean years caused by “cut-throat” competition among producers the game of “beggar-my-neighbor" ends in a "combination” or in the absorption of all the weaker firms by the financially strongest. Missionary boards come to the understanding that none will plant a mission in a native center where a Christian mission already exists. Rival colleges avoid the waste of circularizing the same constituency or cultivating the same secondary schools by dividing territory if they are far apart or by specializing in different lines if they are near each other.

Finally, war-worn exhausted states may do what has been done hundreds of times by jarring communities — form an organization for peace, create tribunals, with power to decide disputes, renounce their armaments and relinquish their liberty to make war at will.

CHAPTER XVI

PERSONAL COMPETITION

Like a

XVI individuals or bodies with reference to a single desirable

Competiobject by two or more persons. Metaphorically speaking, alter- tion More native attractions, e.g., different religions, systems of law, types Race than of education or ideals of life, which make their appeal to the same & Fight people or within the same field, may be said to compete. Competition resembles racing rather than fighting, since it turns on comparison of merits, rather than on antagonistic effort. In a fight it is quite proper to knock out your opponent; but putting your competitor out of the running is regarded as bad sportsmanship. It is like tripping a rival sprinter.

Unlike emulation, the aim of competition is not simply to win, but to win something in itself desirable.

THE FUNCTION OF COMPETITION Altho competition for customers, or patrons, or clients, or sub- Competi

Asscribers, or employment, or office, or for friends and backers, is signs Us

Our prompted by individual aims, it discharges the broad social func- Places in

the Social tica of assigning to each his place in the social system. Since we System do not come into the world with our future calling and station stencilled on the forehead, we discover what we are fit for by the experimental method. By a series of competitions we test the pression we make on others, rate our powers in terms of other men's powers, and determine whether or not we may aspire to the sre eligible occupations and posts. Competition in this sense seed not be conscious or contentious. From our school days on juizments are formed about us of which we are unaware, but which go to determine our careers. For example, several men ay be under consideration for the same appointment. Their entire record is scrutinized so that they are made competitors throughout their past, altho at the time they were not in the least Cascious of it.

termines

nor

CHAP. The chief alternative to competition as a means of assigning XVI

persons to their place in the social system is hereditary status. If Not

In the later Roman Empire the well-placed families protected Competition, then, their position by allowing none to aspire to a calling above his Status De- father's. In Prussia, before the Emancipation Edict of 1807, What Each both lands and occupations were built into the caste system. Shall Do

“Noble" land (Rittergut) could not be bought by non-nobles,

peasant land (Bauerngut) by non-peasants. Neither noble nor peasant could take up occupations which belonged to the burgher class. In India to-day the principal occupations are in the hands of hereditary castes and it is expected that the son of the village priest, smith, or accountant will succeed to his father's office.

This artificial system clashes so harshly with the natural desire to get on and is so repugnant to popular ideas of justice, that it must have come into existence as the device of those in the higher offices and occupations to relieve their children from the compe

tition of the children of the lower-placed. In Olden However, when social unity is low and control weak, status Status makes for order and continuity in the social system. In the Eu

ropean Dark Ages anarchy and civil war were likely to follow Stability the death of the king and the principle of legitimacy, viz., that

the crown passes automatically to the king's eldest son, was hailed with relief. Now that electoral devices have made the headship of the state selective without risking a breakdown in the social organization, the state has no further need of status.

Time

Gave the
State

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Competi-
tion IS
Intense
When

to One's

The relative amount of activity absorbed in the selective proc

ess measures the intensity of competition. In a stationary soMuch En- ciety where, as a rule, children stick where they were born and ergy Is Expended

follow the occupation of their father, where certain trades are in Getting reserved for certain castes, where the great places in the state are Final Place hereditary and electoral campaigns unknown, where peasant may

not vie with burgher or burgher with retainer or retainer with lord, a man devotes a minimum of his energy to finding his place in the social system. Where, on the other hand, as in the United

1 On this and the preceding point I am much indebted to Professor Cooley's monograph, “ Personal Competition,” published by the American Economic Association in 1899.

in the Social System

XVI

States, at least a third of native adults are found by the census

CHAP. taker in some other than their natal state, where a large proportion have tried some other occupation than the one they follow, where schools are free and skill is not ordinarily acquired from one's father, where protected occupations do not exist and where politics are an absorbing interest, the expenditure of energy in placement will be relatively large.

The intensity of competition varies 1. With the degree of personal liberty. 2. With the rate of social change. 3. Inversely as the efficiency of the selective agents. The freer the individual to roam about over the social field, set Personal

Liberty up in this or that calling, try for the better-paid or more honor- Intensides

Competiable offices and get a decision on his merits, the less often one tion encounters racial, religious, or class discrimination, the prompter are customers or clients or patients in transferring their patronage, the more frequently the well-established will be subjected to the competition of outsiders, and the harder must they exert themselves to keep from being ousted.

Again, social change opens new opportunities to many who Change fancied themselves settled in life. The automobile industry has Puts Men in fifteen years absorbed half a million Americans, few of whom Mettle inherited or stumbled into their jobs. In the same time the new profession of play director has given employment to nine thousand yourg men and women, nearly every one of whom has been placed by competition. The creation of a vast army for the World War set hundreds of thousands of young Americans vying to settle which of them should obtain military commissions. The better the selective agencies the more quickly, economic-food. So

lectivo aily and accurately competitors are sifted. The time will come Agencies

and Meth. when an hour with graded tests of mental ability will fix an ap- ods Lessen plicant's caliber far better than a bushel of estimates by his ac- of Getting quaintances. One's school and college standing will be scruti- the Right nized as well as one's record in actual work. Compare the cost the Right of trying for a political appointment under the old system of bringing to bear " influence" with its cost under the merit system. Or consider the intense competition for an elective office. Candidates will spend on a political contest as much as the salary of the conce comes to for the entire term. Two men running for

on Their

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into

Place

CHAP,
XVI

the office of county superintendent of schools will waste perhaps two months of their time electioneering. If the selective agency were a competent board of education, the tax on their time might not exceed two days.

Systems of education which discover and develop the special capabilities of each individual as well as offer specialized training for each calling enable choices among competitors to be prompt and just. Likewise, the laying down of definite requirements for those who would follow teaching, nursing, law, accountancy, etc., saves much fumbling and disappointment.

RESTRICTIONS UPON THE METHODS OF COMPETITION

Competi

In the absence of binding rules or accepted standards of fairtion Needs to Be Re

ness competition assumes extravagant or vicious forms. In the strained by Commer- commercial sphere the wastes from competitive publicity, wincial Rules,

dow-dressing, salesmanship and delivery have been long recognized and go far to reconcile us to the replacement of competition by combination. Courts and administrative boards have outlawed a great number of practices as "unfair” because they tend to the success not of the better caterer to the wants of the public, but of the inferior one. The criterion of " fairness" is whether the practice contributes in the long run to supplying the consumers with the greatest abundance of good wares or services at the lowest cost. By this touchstone are condemned local price-cutting, the operation of bogus “independent " concerns, the use of

fighting ” brands, rebates and preferential arrangements, exclusive sale or purchase arrangements, conditional requirements, espionage, coercion and intimidation, black-lists, and interference with the contracts and business of competitors.

Among workingmen "scabbing” and strike-breaking, pacemaking and tattling are generally reprobated as methods of commending one's self to the management. On the other hand, it is accounted legitimate for the working man to get himself in line for promotion by showing superior skill, devising better tools or

processes, or making valuable suggestions. by Professional

The organized professions have long paid heed to the methods Standards, of competition followed by their members and have frowned on

such as handicap modest merit. No doctor or lawyer in good standing will advertise, solicit employment, pay commissions for business, undertake cases on a contingent fee, show a client how

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