Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Law of Limited Competition for the Pseudotribal Corporation

If you've read Daniel Quinn's neotribalist propaganda (using that word in the most benign sense possible) - which I have blogged about ad nauseam (using that term in the most hyperbolic sense possible) - then you have come across Quinn's Law of Limited Competition.

Copying and pasting from Wikipedia, it says this: "You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food."

I'm sure many of us are aware of literature being used for endeavors not originally intended by the original writer, whether it be the Bible for political gain (did I just say that?) or The Art of War for entrepreneurship. Okay, let's stop there. What if we applied The Law of Limited Competition to business practices?

It would read like this: You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not sabotage your competitors politically/litigiously or destroy their resources or deny them access to clients/consumers.

Let's elaborate by adapting the Wikipedia article linked above, kind of like Mad Libs:

Consider three hypothetical types of corporations. Corporation 1 produces goods and services, and uses resources A, B, and C. Corporation 2 provides services, and uses resources B, C, and D. Corporation 3 is a carnivorous conglomerate with monopolistic tendencies, uses resource A, and tends to buy out corporations like 1 and 2. According to the Law of Limited Competition, any of these three companies may compete to the full extent of their abilities, but may not eradicate its competitors, or deny them access to resources and customers. In short, they may compete, but not sue the pants off each other, nor corruptly influence legislation in one's monopolistic favor. If the law is broken, sustainability of any of the companies - and of the marketplace itself - is put in jeopardy.

  • If, in an effort to eliminate competition from corporation 2, corporation 1 denies access to or destroys resource D, which it does not use, corporation 2 will be forced to rely on resources B and C, increasing competition for the common resources for both companies, and consequently, reducing two of the resources for species 3, as well as increasing competition for resource A. Sustainability for all three companies has been jeopardized.
  • If, however, corporation 2, in an effort to eliminate competition for resources B and C, attempts to eradicate corporation 1, increased predation by corporation 3 will result. Again, all three companies suffer reduced sustainability (well, eventually it'll get to corporation 3).

Because of the growth limiting characteristics of the law, companies which violate its precepts are disadvantaged and thus doomed to failure...eventually.

With this model, we can sort of see why Microsoft was considered the Evil Empire during the 1990s (Netscape Now! Use a Mac!), and why Apple Inc. is getting more and more annoying as they continue to spread their dominance across popular culture (ironic, isn't it?). Yes, Google also has an ever-growing empire, BUT their unofficial motto is: "Don't Be Evil." And who wouldn't want to be bought out by friendly Google?

By the way, DeRamos.org is hosted by Blogger, and Blogger's parent company is Google. ;-)

Lowland gorilla (like Ishmael) photo credit: Stavenn.

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