Economics utilizes metaphors and ways of thinking from the natural sciences. Neo-Darwinism provides convenient support for the story of the beneficent outcome of something called free market competition. Darwinism holds that adaptations occur exclusively through random mutation that sometimes produces genes with useful attributes that give the organism an advantage in competition with other organisms. This view is being challenged by the research of Lynn Margulis, who observes that complexity at the level of the cell is not the result of lethal competition, but rather symbiotic relationships between gene sets.
Prof. Margulis argues that even new species occur over time when symbiotic partners fuse. She says, “we are all walking communities of bacteria.”
Consider what an economics built on both cooperation and competition would look like. Is it coincidence that my latest book is entitled, “Conflict and Cooperation.”