Europe: competition or cooperation?

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of cooperation or competition of countries? On what basis can we conclude that cooperation is a better or worse way to act and form relationships? Which of these bases is socially more acceptable? What is competition and what is cooperation at all?

Cooperation is a joint action (production, activity, consumption) performed by a group of people for their mutual benefit. Competition, on the other hand, is its opposite, where an individual pursues individual goals. Many people view competition as morally perilous, while cooperation is the best form of action. How different are these two attitudes? Do they contrast with each other so clearly? To answer this question, one must consider the way actions are taken by both the individual and the group. In practice, the actions of both cases are taken by the individual, but the goal differs as it is individual or common. Can we actually morally judge which of these theories is better? There are too many variables to answer this question unequivocally. Cooperation carried out in an unethical manner, such as cheating or stealing, will be judged negatively, while competition has decidedly positive overtones when we relate it to the free market, where consumers seek the best deal and companies the highest profits.

The concepts of competition and cooperation can be analysed in many ways, such as between individuals, companies, cities, nations or states. The best way to present both concepts is to refer to trade, the basis for the creation of economic relations, but taking into account the international context. Studying international trade flows helps uncover the effects of economic cooperation and competition.

When analyzing both concepts in relation to trade, a key theory of trade economics should not be overlooked: Ricardian model of absolute and comparative advantage, which explains that trade provides an increase in prosperity and that countries engaged in international trade can gain significantly from cooperation. The Ricardian model of trade was a real breakthrough. Until then, the world’s resources were considered limited and unchangeable. As a result, one country’s economic gain was to be achieved at the expense of another. This situation is called a zero-sum game. However, David Ricardo proved that international trade is a positive-sum game.

The European Union (EU) is the world’s most developed model of regional cooperation and integration. The free movement and exchange of goods was one of the main reasons for the creation of the European Union. In fact, the EU has one of the strongest competition policy systems in the world.

The difference between competition and cooperation seems quite obvious. However, when one considers which of these approaches would work better as the way the European market operates, the answer may not seem so simple anymore. What economic effects do both of these approaches have on the operation of the market in European Union countries? You will learn more about this extremely important topic, which concerns so many aspects of our lifes, by taking the course Europe: competition or cooperation!

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