Competition belongs in the Liberty sphere
20 April, 2018
In his book ‘Toward Social Renewal’, Dr Steiner refers to the economic sphere as an ‘associative’ sphere. This is quite different from the meaning ascribed to ‘competition’. So why is there competition in the business sphere and why does it belong somewhere else?
Our societies today are really all a varied form of unitary state. The Threefold Social Order model suggests that we start to see within this ‘unitary’ state three autonomous entities that need to be separately identified and nurtured into a kind of independence and yet interdependence. All three need to operate in balance to enable society as a whole to function better. Once we get this image correctly living within us, the current unitary state will metamorphose into a Threefold Social Order.
One of these autonomous legs is the economic sphere. The economic sphere is there to provide for the material needs of mankind effectively and efficiently. We all need things. They will all be more attainable if we all allow an economic sphere to take form on the basis that the whole economic sphere is there for all of us. All economic activities will take place in service of our general needs rather than for fabricated needs or where certain rights are given to enrich only individuals. For these economic activities to succeed, it means also that the best people must be involved in leading these and collaboration between them is essential to keep waste and inefficiencies low. For example, a needs analysis would be carried out by the liberty sphere in conjunction with the economic and rights spheres before another producer was allowed to enter the market rather than the way it works today where ‘our combined resources’ – nature for example, are often wasted and abused by allowing a fight between individuals to occur – who are in search of personal gain – at the expense of the whole. This is what we call competition today. People compete for wealth amongst each other. In the process it appears that we get goods and services effectively. The side effects of this are the interest groups that then form and force themselves on the state to change laws for a few individuals rather than for the equality of all. There is also the consequential social distress with business immorality, financial failures and so on. The economic sphere would be more sustainable, more efficient, and fairer on the competent people that managed them and the workers, if the individual businesses were seen as serving societal needs and the people working in them seen as being rewarded for their proportional part in the delivery of the overall product. In this way the salary disparities would reduce. The rich would be more secure because the poor would have a reasonable existence. There would be more business and more jobs because more humanity would be attached to more of the value created instead of the money ending up chasing returns on fewer and fewer humanity filled people. There should not be competition in business. They should run for us all.
So how would we have progress then? How would IT technology advancement come about? Well, people are always searching to understand more. This is life. Our understanding comes from our exposure to ever broader concepts. The liberty sphere will want to become more useful to the advancement of people, not in haste, but in quality. Schools will be independent of both state and economic influence. Children will play and be loved. Teachers will want the child to unfold in fullness. They will invest in better ways to facilitate this, including their own role in how they are before these children. Later on in school, all the new ideas and methods will be available to them. This will come about from the interaction of the three different legs of the Threefold Social Order at Tri-Government level. In the liberty sphere, there will be competition to facilitate the fullness of our humanity in the interests of society as a whole. Patience, for example, is a human quality that is available to each of us at any time. Our impatience is our own personal failure. If I see another with patience strongly embedded as a virtue, it will be in my interest to be like this person. I cannot buy patience or get a tablet for it. To really get this element of ‘humanity’ within myself, I will have to want it and work on it. I will know that others with more patience are going to play a bigger role in society than I will be able to – be it in the liberty, economy or equality sphere.
Competition in the liberty sphere is a must for anyone who knows that his humanity in a spiritual sense is what makes the difference to their worth wherever they may be in society, artist, teacher, lawyer, businessperson, or policeman. This ‘competition’ in the liberty sphere will be of a kind where we wrestle to be more open, gentle, better listeners, have more clarity, are more objective, positive and so on. It will be a battle to become more human and we will respect this becoming in others rather than their cars. The ‘progressed’ human beings will influence more in whichever sphere they find themselves. On the other hand, competition in the economic sphere simply brings the requirement of the autonomous nature of the three entities into a confused intermingled relationship of a unitary nature – the magnets move into the sphere of the other and the motor of society as a whole slows down. Both the rights and the economic will benefit from our mutual interest in being more human.