Originally posted by DeepThought
Give some examples then. You may as well say species cooperate. We wouldn't exist if it weren't for archaic species cooperating and then merging into subsets of the same organism. A better model than "nature red in tooth and claw" is a game theory approach where different strategies work depending on the environment. We most certainly are not in comp ...[text shortened]... ine all through the feudal era, everything had a place and everything was in it's place.
Wow, that's not paranoid in the slightest. 😕 Competition in nature was not invented to explain the free market system, rather the economists co-opted it as a useful analogue. And they may try to use it to justify the dog-eat-dog world of economics, but they shouldn't as they run headlong into the "is/ought" problem.
I agree that species also cooperate, but you have to see that competition is the basis of evolution. Within a niche, organisms will compete with each other to gather resources and create offspring. The more offspring you produce, the better the chances that your genes will end up dominating that niche. For example, many animals including apes have a male hierarchy when it comes to sexual selection. Alpha male apes mate with the females and try to exclude others from doing the same - competition for limited resources between organisms in the same niche, and extinction is not the result. It also happens when human males go to the bar. But the net result is that the organism that out competes its neighbours will leave a larger imprint on the next generation (barring random infertility, environmental catastrophes, etc...).
Now, cooperation also occurs. The other apes will gather food or protect a resource in an effort to make sure they and their relatives survive long enough to produce offspring, and human males will take wingmen with them to the bar in a cooperative effort to get some in the hopes that the favour will be returned in the future - both examples of organisms in the same niche cooperating. With regards to human intestinal bacteria, there is a cooperative interaction (humans provide food for the bacteria, the bacteria aid in human digestion), but these organisms occupy different niches. However, each of these cooperative actions must have a net positive impact on the fitness of the respective organisms or the cooperative behaviour would not be selected for. This is the competitive nature of evolution. To say that "different strategies work depending on the environment" is true, but it's also a tautology.