Why can't competition work in a cooperative system like Parecon and what makes it different from a mutualist one?

In the curious case of an Anarcho-mutualist system proposed by both academics and philosophers such as Pierre Joseph Proudhon, who proposed that the mutualist model, apart from having characteristics that various left-wing anarchisms may have, since it is mainly based on
in cooperatives, however, he did not deny the existence of competition as an important part of the system, I rescue here a fragment of Clarence Lee Swartz’s writing from his Book: What is mutualism?
''A social system based on the equality of freedom, reciprocity and sovereignty of the individual over himself, his products made through individual initiative the free market, free contract, cooperation, fundamental competition, and voluntary association for voluntary defense against invaders and for the protection of life, liberty, and property of non-invaders."
With these four major privileges eliminated, the others, that are entrained with them, would
offer no serious difficulties.
Mutualism, which is the embodiment of both competitive and associative effort, teaches that
there are two great rights that are admitted - in theory, at least - by everybody.
These are the right to compete and the right to cooperate; and, if the right to compete be
conceded, so likewise must the right to refrain from competition, or the right to refrain from
cooperation. In fact, the two activities go hand in hand; one can scarcely be conceived without
the other. It is impossible to cooperate without, in some way, competing, just as competition, in
its best and truest sense, does not preclude but prompts cooperation.
Cooperators, by the superior power derived from their combination, may be able to compete
individuals or non-cooperators out of business; so that the keenest competition may make cooperation the price of survival. The two are twin economic forces that go to form the warp and
woof of modern commercial and industrial life. Mutualism is prepared to harness them together
in a team that will, under conditions of freedom, make them not only invincible but also the very
bulwark of the new social order. (Obviously speaking theoretically)
But it seems that the ideas of this system were based on a system quite close to the liberal one, which mixes both red and yellow parts, something that is a bit strange, but it is important to note that this theory came after Proudhon written with certain characteristics. and those who decided to give it more additions were several American authors, which we could say for that reason the touches they gave it, although this political and economic thought seems somewhat interesting, the competition could bring about difficult situations in general? Apart from this, in what aspects can Parecon be better than the mutual system proposed by Prudhon and the American authors?
I new here :sweat_smile:
This is a question made by Ian Andretti Patiño García I am new here, Regards :wave:


First, welcome to the forums! It’s great to have you here! :smiley:

In regards to competition vs cooperation, Parecon does have some competition during the planning procedure. Workplaces are incentivized to submit plans that have a benefit cost ratio greater or equal to one. This ensures the most efficient workplaces will be favored over less efficient ones.

For example, imagine there’s a scenario where we have two workplaces proposing to produce the same amount of products, but one is requesting to use less inputs than the other. As the prices adjust, the less efficient workplace will tend to have their plans rejected. The important point here is that the people who are “outcompeted” are not thrown into the river like in today’s economy. Since Parecon uses a planning procedure you can ensure that everyone who wants a job gets one etc. Of course, there’s a lot more to say about how all of this is actually implemented, but that’s the gist of it.

In regards to the differences between mutualism and Parecon, I would say the main difference is that mutualism advocates for markets whereas Parecon advocates for a democratic planning procedure to allocate resources. There are a lot of problems with markets: they tend to misprice products, they have no way of pricing external costs (such as pollution), they tend to cause large levels of overproduction, and so on. There are articles on this site that go into more detail if you’re interested in hearing our arguments on the topic.

In short: the main difference is mutualism proposes to use markets, whereas Parecon is advocating for market abolition.


Wow, that explains the situation much better, I really don’t like competition very much, but I suppose it’s something necessary in some aspects of life, such as work and choice; without a dount, something that I like more about the Parecon is that part of not being so cruel when losing in that little competition, but without a doubt, I mainly like cooperation as a means of subsistence, since on several occasions both in social experiments it has proven to be efficient. And better than the extreme competition that today we usually experience in our lives and we are led to believe that it is extremely good, when in its entirety it is not. Thank you for your answer, it is very good. :+1: