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The Ethics of Competition

How a Competitive Society is Good for All

Christoph Lütge

The concept of competition is frequently regarded with ambivalence. While its champions wholeheartedly endorse it for reasons of efficiency, critics believe competition undermines ethics. They denounce competitive thinking, call for modesty in profit-making, and rail against economisation. However, Christoph Lütge argues convincingly that intensified competition can work in favour of ethical goals, and that many criticisms of competition stem from an inadequate understanding of how modern societies and economies function. The author illustrates his view with examples from ecology, healthcare and education, and concludes with a call for more entrepreneurial spirit.
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Index

Christoph Lütge

abstinence 76
advantages, economic 40
advertising 367, 81, 94, 166
Alcatel-Lucent 18
altruistism 17, 46, 1034, 1056
Amazon 184
American Dream 100101, 180
American Hospital Association 138
‘Analects’ 15
ancient China 1417
Andrew, Prince 170
Anna, the School and the Dear Lord 124
‘Anonymous lamblichi’ 7
Appiah, Kwame 185
Aquinas, Thomas 60
Aristotle 5860, 173
Arrow, Kenneth 156
A Theory of Justice 35
athletic competition 8, 9
‘authentic will’ 856
Authority and the Individual 323
Badiou, Alain 28
Baumol, William 479, 6971
Bénassy-Quéré, Agnès 1023
Berger, Roland 108
Berlin Social Science Center 144
Bible 4, 545, 5960
Parable of the Talents 735, 181
Binmore, Ken 104
biofuels 109, 11823
biological evolution 61
‘biotope thinking’ 1689
Bitterfeld 108
‘Book of Documents’ 15
‘Book of Songs’ 15
bourgeois virtues 8999
Brecht, Bertolt 18081
Brent Spar Affair 165
Brodbeck, Karl-Heinz 22
Brookings Institution 108
Buchanan, James M. 156
BUND campaign 166
Burrow, Sharon 18
Cable, Vince 3
Camerer, Colin 104
capitalism 49, 63, 107, 133
criticism of 3, 1113, 1721
socialist competition 1113
car-sharing platforms 1778
Carson, Rachel 107
catallaxy 42
Chernobyl 108
chivalrous competition 8, 910
Christianity 39, 83
Bible 4, 545, 5960, 735, 181
Cicero 63
civility 956
civilization, achievements of 2
‘clean economy’ 108
‘clean energy’ 109
closing times, relaxation of (Germany) 523
cloud computing 122
Cold War 11
Cologne Institute for Economic Research 1812
‘Competition as a Discovery Procedure’ 23
‘Competition as a Mode of Interaction’ 225
competition rights 367
competitive equilibrium 41
competitive instincts 334
Competitiveness Index (WEF) 133
conflicts of interest 14951
Confucius/Confucianism 1517
Constitutional Court 159
consumers (education) 1268
consumers 23, 41, 87, 115, 146, 164
controlled risk 72, 73
cooperation 22, 69, 165, 176, 180
ethical role of competition 278, 38, 45
cost control/reduction 51, 81, 121, 139, 140, 1412, 148, 155
crab mentality 175, 176, 178
craftsmen culture 83
‘Creating Shared Value’ 28
‘creative destruction’ 25
cultural evolution 61
daily lives 5, 17075
entrepreneurship 18082
jealousy 1756
sharing economy 1768
zero-sum thinking 17880
Debt – Updated and Expanded: The First 5000 Years 21
decision-making 13940, 146, 164
Defoe, Daniel 65
Dekra 127, 1778
development policy 67
Die Zeit 1920
Digital Dementia 124
digital technology 1834
discovery, process of 4045
dishonesty 978
distribution mechanisms 172
Ditfurth, Jutta 107
Downs, Anthony 156
Drobinski, Matthias 678
Duchy of Saxe-Weimar 56
ecologies of scale 11518
ecology 4, 107115
biofuels 109, 11823
ecologies of scale 11518
environmental impact of China’s growth 11015
moderation 112, 114, 120, 123
pollution 110, 11112, 11314
renewable energy 109, 112, 113, 121
sustainability 2, 108, 110
technological advances 2, 108, 10912, 116
‘economic horror’ 3
Economics of Good and Evil 20
economies of scale 66, 118
‘economism’ 19
economization 3, 68, 184
education 5
economics 125, 131, 1323, 134, 136, 1812
egalitarianism 1312
empirical research 1245, 130, 135
providers and consumers 1268
reform of 126, 12830, 1313, 1356
regulation 134
social entrepreneurship 82
systems theory 13031
educational capitalism 133
efficiency
ecology 110, 118, 121, 122
ethical role of competition 37, 39, 45, 46, 49
health and nursing care 139, 146, 152
inefficiency 73, 175
zero-sum thinking 68, 73, 80, 92, 98
Ehrenberg, Herbert 107
election thresholds 15860
Elements of the Philosophy of Right 38, 878
empirical educational research 1245, 130, 135
entrepreneurship 110, 173, 183
daily lives 18082
ethical role of competition 28, 30, 3940, 434, 47, 50, 51
moderation 7783
Parable of the Talents 735
zero-sum thinking 6875, 7783, 88, 96, 99
envy 37
Erhard, Ludwig 52
ethical role of competition 2732
Baumol 479
cooperation 278
entrepreneurship 28, 30, 3940, 434, 47, 50, 51
examples 5054
Goethe 557
Hayek 4047
Höffe 379
innovation 27, 2930, 38, 3940, 47, 489
Mann 545
market economy 35, 367, 39, 40, 41, 425, 469, 5053, 57
privatization 50, 534
process of discovery 4045
Rawls 347
regulation 34, 367, 52
Russell 324
system ethics 289
etymology 6
EU (European Union) 5052, 67
European Community 50
‘Evangelii Gaudium’ 20
excess production 23
experimental economics 103
Experiments in Ethics 185
Facebook 27, 162, 184
Faust 55, 17980
Federal Environment Ministry 108
Federal Statistical Office 138
Fetscher, Iring 89
Fichte, Johann Gottlieb 86, 87
‘first come, first served’ principle 172
Fontenoy, Battle of (1745) 10
fragmentation, political 1578
free movement of workers in Europe 5052
free trade 86
Friedman, Milton 156
GDP per capita 62
genius cult 69
German Medical Association 22, 137
German Shares Institute 102
Gintis, Herbert 105
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 180
Global Village (Beijing) 111
globalization 13, 28, 85, 154, 165, 169, 178
Goethe and Money 57
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 557, 17980
‘golden mean’ 1734
Google 184
Graafland, Johan 91, 92, 93
Graeber, David 2021
greed 19, 2021, 489, 59, 67, 104, 119, 171
Greenpeace 111, 165
‘GreenTech Made in Germany 4.0’ 108
habit formation 91
Han Dynasty 14
Hayek, Friedrich August von 4047, 70
health and nursing care 45
conflicts of interest 14951
cost control 139, 140, 1412, 148, 155
efficiency 139, 146, 152
free movement of workers in Europe 512
health insurance 1412, 148, 1513
international comparisons 14043
need for increased competition 13840
nursing sector competition 1535
opposition to competition 1378, 14451
privatization 13941, 152
regulation 140, 141, 1456, 151
scandals 137
sector differentiation 140
transparency 153
vulnerability of patients 1468
health insurance 1412, 148, 1513
Hegel, Georg W.F. 38, 869
Hengsbach, Friedhelm 19, 22
Hennecke, Adolf 11
Heraclitus 1
Hermann and Dorothea 56
Hessel, Stéphane 13
Hippocratic Oath 150
Hobbes, Thomas 6, 767
Höffe, Otfried 379
Homann, Karl 1920, 77
Homer 68
honesty 969
‘Hospital Rating Report’ (2012) 138
Hubig, Christoph 72
Hubris 22, 174
Human Society in Ethics and Politics 33
Hume, David 31
‘I Ching’ 15
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View 31, 38
imperfect competition 41
Industrial Revolution 62, 107
industriousness 96
inefficiency 73, 175
inequality 18, 23, 35, 174
innovation 18, 110, 123, 182
ethical role of competition 27, 2930, 38, 3940, 47, 489
zero-sum thinking 64, 7072, 76, 7880
Institut Apeiros 81
International Trade Union Confederation 18
‘invisible hand’ 48, 87
Islam 60
ISO standards 116
jealousy 1756
Joseph and His Brothers 54
Joseph the Provider 54
just price 59, 60
justice 345, 389, 135
Kahneman, Daniel 103
Kant, Immanuel 31, 38, 856, 87
Katowice 108
Knausertum (stinginess) 68
Knight, Frank H. 3940
Kühn, Hagen 1445, 147
Kuhn, Thomas 135
Lectures on the History of Philosophy 867
Lenin, Vladimir 12, 13
Leviathan 767
List, Friedrich 65
‘losers’ 256, 37, 66, 93
Luhmann, Niklas 130
Luther, Martin 834
Mann, Thomas 545
Marx/Marxism 1112
McCloskey, Deirdre 64, 65, 66, 67, 71
media 81, 1667, 176
social networks 27, 1612, 177
Mencius 15
mercantilism 64, 65
Merkel, Angela 168
mesotes 59, 173
Microsoft 184
middle position 174
Miegel, Meinhard 22, 101
Mises, Ludwig von 6
Miyazaki, Ichisada 15
moderation
daily lives 173, 178
ecology 112, 114, 120, 123
entrepreneurship 7783
international perspective 99103
psychological and experimental viewpoint 1036
sociological and historical backgrounds 6068
today’s pleas for 7583
zero-sum thinking 5860, 72, 745
Monopoly 5, 17072
Montgomery, Frank U. 22, 1378
moral risks 712
Morin, Edgar 13
Mormonism 99
motorways (France) 53
Münch, Richard 133
NGOs (non-governmental organizations) 856, 122, 1656, 181
non-zero-sum games 43
Occupy movement 21
‘Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences’ 31
Ökonomie 84
‘On Trade and Usury’ 83
online banking 1623
Paganism 39
panta rhei 1
Parable of the Talents 735, 181
Paul, Ron 174
‘pay for performance’ system 143
pension insurance 7980
People and the Market 30
perfect competition 41, 78
performance-based testing 14
‘Personnel Ministry’ 14
Physiocratic economics 57
Pies, Ingo 119
Pirate Party 161, 167
PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) 1245, 12930, 133
Plato 59
pleonexia 589
Plural Media Services 81
polemos 1
politics 5, 140, 1568
economics 156, 1634
education 130, 136
election thresholds 15860
ethical role of competition 33, 356, 38, 39
ethical standards for competition 1649
fragmentation 1578
NGOs 1656
online solutions 1613
two-party system 16061
zero-sum thinking 645, 69, 78
‘polity’ 59
pollution 110, 11112, 11314
Pope Francis 20
Porter, Michael 28
positivism 135
poverty 2
pragmatism 99100
Precht, Richard David 76, 101, 124
price mechanisms 86, 1723
Prison Entrepreneurship Program 82
prisoner’s dilemma 150
privatization 50, 534, 13941, 152
profitability 82
prohibition of interest 5960
Prosperity without Growth? 76
protectionism 35, 65
providers 78, 115, 120, 122, 1268, 177
health and nursing care 141, 145, 1514
prudence 923
railway station toilets (Germany) 534
RAND Corporation 11112
Rathenau, Walther 184
rating agencies 98
Rawls, John 6, 347
recycling 111, 119, 121
Red Baron 10
regulation 878, 134, 165, 174
ethical role of competition 34, 367, 52
health and nursing care 140, 141, 1456, 151
terminology/concepts of competition 19, 24
renewable energy 109, 112, 113, 121
rent control laws 79
reputation 85, 97, 100
retirement age 79
Ricardo, David 86
Richter, Sandra 7, 30
Riester pension scheme 127
risk equalization 1412
‘Rites Ministry’ 14
rivalry 1, 78, 11, 95, 100
Roman Empire 624
Rosa, Hartmut 225
Rubenstein, David 18
Rucellai, Giovanni 61
Russell, Bertrand 3, 324
Schlich, Elmar 11618
Schmoller, Gustav von 65
Schumpeter, Joseph 68, 70
Schwarzenegger, Arnold 100101
scientific holism 57
sector differentiation (health and nursing care) 140
Sedláček, Tomáš 20
see-saw metaphor 58, 66, 174, 1789, 180
Seibt, Gustav 57
selection (of virtues) 91
self-employment 18081
self-interest/selfishness 85, 86, 87, 8990, 92, 103
self-motivated industriousness 96
sensory observation 57
sharing economy 1768
‘sleepyhead competition’ 78
Smith, Adam 46, 48, 56, 68, 86, 87
bourgeois virtues 8999
social entrepreneurship 8083, 181, 182
social networks 27, 1612, 177
socialism 35, 148
socialist competition 8, 1113
Song Dynasty 1415
South-Schleswig Voters’ Association 159
‘spiritual fellowship’ 39
Spitzer, Manfred 124
spontaneous order 423
sport 9
standard shifting 91
Steilmann, Klaus 778
stock markets 93, 1012, 162
Stone, Oliver 65
streamlining 24, 161
streetfootballworld 81
subsistence economies 6061, 185
Süddeutsche Zeitung 21, 678
Sui Dynasty 14
sustainability 2, 38, 108, 110
swarm intelligence 27, 28, 145
System Error 19
system ethics 289
systems theory 13031
taxation 22, 63, 79, 131, 156
Tea Party movement 161
Technical University of Munich 110
Techniker Krankenkasse 152
technology 2, 76, 812, 108, 10912, 116, 177, 1834
temperance 59, 945
terminology/concepts of competition 3, 617
athletic competition 8, 9
chivalrous competition 8, 910
critics of capitalism 3, 1113, 1721
critique of competition 216
economics 78
market economy 8, 1617, 1921, 23, 24
non-European cultures 1317
socialist competition 8, 1113
testing public officials (ancient China) 1417
The Art of Not Being an Egoist 756
The Closed Commercial State 86
‘The Ethics of Competition’ 39
The Fatal Conceit 456
The Free-Market Innovation Machine 478
The Path to Hope 13
The Wealth of Nations 48
Theory of Colors 57
Theory of Moral Sentiments 8991
Thielemann, Ulrich 19
Thurow, Lester 65
Time for Outrage! 13
Time magazine 17
Tonali Grand Prix 81
transparency 92, 132, 153
Trump, Donald 161
TÜV 127
Tversky, Amos 103
two-party system 16061
Ulysses 68
usury 834
VerbaVoice GmbH 81
Verwaayen, Ben 18
virtues 59, 61, 8999, 102
Wall Street 656
war/battle 6, 7, 10, 33, 34
waste 678
Weber, Max 25
Weimar Republic 157, 160
welfare systems 105, 148
Wells, Thomas 91, 92, 93
Welzer, Harald 76, 101, 109
Westphalian Ärzteblatt 144
‘Wettbewerb’ 7
wholesaling 63
Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship 556
Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years 556
‘winners’ 37, 93
World Economic Forum 1718, 133
World Health Organization 112
WWF China 111
zero-sum thinking 34, 5860, 185
daily lives 17880
entrepreneurship 6875, 7783, 88, 96, 99
innovation 64, 7072, 76, 7880
moderation 5860, 72, 745
international perspective 99103
psychological and experimental viewpoint 1036
sociological and historical backgrounds 6068
today’s pleas for 7583
non-zero-sum games 43
virtues 59, 61, 8999, 102