Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Balancing competition and cooperation (3)

The 1978 term “winter of discontent” is popular once again, for various reasons (eg, 2021 global energy crisis, 2022 food crises, 2021-2022 global supply chain crisis). Citizens blame their governments (eg, DutchNews). The EU blames the national governments for acting late or not all (eg, Wiley, T&F online).

Balancing competition versus cooperation is hard. See my diagram below for its inherent tensions.

Cooperation is mostly at a macro level, while competition is mostly at a micro level.

An orchestra is a peculiar mix of macro (cooperation of individuals) and micro (eg, competing ingredients like 1st violin, 2nd violin, 3rd violin).

Discontent at micro level is causing cracks at macro level (eg, Brexit, CalExit, Nexit, Scotland referendum, Texas independence).

National and/or state governments are the first to pay the price of this discontent (eg, housing, immigrants, inflation). Recent examples are the general elections of 11 September in Sweden and of 25 September in Italy over immigrants & refugees (both) and unemployment (Italy).

Noticing labour shortages and low birth rates (macro) does not automatically translate in acceptance of immigrants (micro). At a micro level there is competition over houses and jobs. Why would an ordinary citizen care about cooperation with newcomers? Governments also give mixed messages (eg, UK).

Governments worldwide are fighting this discontent by handing out billions to citizens (eg, energy allowances). In my view, this kind of pampering is a classic case of too little, too late. Global citizen discontent is the result of a culmination of policy failures (eg, Covid-19, Russian energy dependence).

In my view, it’s weird that (some) people prefer to blame the (private) World Economic Forum (WEF) rather than the (public) World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO caused trillions of damage – and discontent – by labeling a highly contagious virus, with a very low impact, as a pandemic.

What is the solution? Bigger = better? Or Small = beautiful?

My personal view is clear: small = beautiful (eg, my 2019 blog). However, I am an exception. The universal trend always is bigger = better (eg, megacities, urbanisation). Does this imply a future supranational government at the level of the United Nations? Perhaps. I think, feel and believe so indeed.

Anthem (1992) by Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album/song

There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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