In his latest blog post, “The Casualties of Attacking the Market,” Dr. Craig Wright takes a look at a problem that plagues every market in which competition exists, attacks from competitors.
To illustrate the problem and its drawbacks, Dr. Wright lays out the scenario in terms of charter schools vs. public schools.
“There are many reasons why people oppose charter schools,” says Dr. Wright. “In part, by diverting money from public education and conventional public schools, capital is shifted away from non-union teachers and non-union administrators. The movement of funds away from government schools leads to a drain of power away from unionised groups.”
One reason tension builds between the two competitors, is that when two groups exist instead of one, the power is diluted from the group who needs it most (public schools). In addition, resources that may have otherwise been allocated to the public schools get diminished since they will end up with fewer students in their classrooms if the charter school really is the better option. As a result, when competition exists, one group will typically become envious of the other.
“Aristotle characterized envy as anguish at the prospect of another’s good fortune which is provoked by “those who have what we ought to have,” says Dr. Wright. “Some teachers, educators, and parents look at the introduction of improved education for those in poverty, and see something that their children did not have. They look at others with envy, and resent the improvement that has been bestowed upon them.”
Although envy is unfortunately created as a result of competition, the world is a better place when competition exists and people have choice. In terms of charter schools, research has found that the students who attend charter schools in poverty-ridden areas outperform their peers who attend the public schools in that area. That being said, the world should not let envious competitors meddle in plans that can lead to better outcomes.
According to Dr. Wright,
If we want a better society, we should allow people to have a choice. Significantly, the choice in question should not be based on our decisions, but rather on the informed decisions of the parties involved. When we allow external parties to interfere with the development of human capital that will allow those in poverty to escape a greatly diminished life, if we allow envy, greed, and lust for power to bring others down to their level, can we not see Shakespeare’s Othello being dragged down by an Iago, in a parallel of greed and lust for power.
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