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10 Oct, 2014

Moral trade-offs are for the common good – Sydney Morning Herald

By Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald Economics Editor

Biologists (and economists) have long stressed the importance of competition between us – survival of the fittest and all that – but it’s not hard to see that humans’ domination of the planet arises from our unmatched ability to co-operate with each other to overcome problems.

So humans are about competition and co-operation. Economists have schooled us to think of markets as all about competition – between sellers, between buyers and between buyers and sellers – but psychologists see markets as a prime example of human co-operation.

Co-operation through markets allows us to use specialisation – I produce what I’m good at, you do the same and we use the medium of money to exchange the things we’ve produced – to increase our combined efficiency in production, leaving us all better off.

Read the rest: Moral trade-offs are for the common good.