For anyone competing at a high level there are two choices: Follow the absolute game specific best strategy OR lose. The game can make you wealthier or more successful but it cannot make you free. Certainly at the end of a life time of competition one can use the wealth and success to quit the game briefly before dying. But let's not confuse that with freedom in any real sense.
Recent events in the world of finances and sports have demonstrated very clearly the difference between winning at games and freedom. Our society is now replete with wealthy game winners that followed and continue to follow to the letter winning strategies that everyone, including them, finds repugnant.
"He's not getting it. What about Greg LeMond's bike company that was completely destroyed? It doesn't make sense. What about Scott Mercier not having a career? Christophe Bassons not having a career? Other guys who didn't want to do what he wanted them to do not having a career? You can't put a price on opportunity lost and we're not even talking millions of dollars, we're just talking about people who just want to make a living so they can pay a mortgage and save some money after."The "he" here is Lance Armstrong but exactly the same could written of participants of the World Economic Forum:
In 2013, the world’s richest 0.1% own 81% of the world's wealth. While the bottom 99.9% hold only 19% of the wealth. The richest 0.001% of the world own a whole 30% of the wealth.The problem is that elites all over the world, huddled together in Davos, are loathe to bite the hand that fed them. Even as that hand now crushes the world. Competition is a great tool for technological revolution but its ability to help in the steady state is dubious
In 2013, global unemployment will hit a record high with 200 million people without work.
In 2013, 925 million of the world’s people are undernourished and hungry through lack of food.
In 2013, 8 million people will die because they are too poor to stay alive in this world.
The error unavoidable to the theorists of the time lay in basing a scientific system on the facts afforded by a state of revolution. This was attempting to derive permanent principles from transient phenomena. Some of these principles must become obsolete; and the work demanded of modern economists consists in separating the transient from the permanent in the Ricardian system. How much of the doctrine holds true when the struggle between unequal competitors is over, and when a few of the very strongest have possession of the field? Can the old-time competition be trusted to divide the fruits of industry between one overgrown shop and another, and between the owners and the workmen in each? Can this same force control railroads, as it once controlled stage-coaches and packet-sloops? To be more accurate, are the transactions of consolidated railroad lines governed by the same principles as those of single railroads and stage-coach lines when these are competing with each other? Does the old regulating principle at present exist, and will general well-being continue to evolve itself under its unaided influence? An economic system adapted to the modern era must begin by answering these questions.Competition is designed to do exactly what it forced Lance Armstrong to do - use new technology to overcome limitations. But in the absence of technological break through or in the presence of technologies mankind would prefer to avoid, competition does not foster progress. John B. Clark understood this even in 1887 when he wrote the above passage from "The Limits of Competition". (Thankfully we can enjoy academic articles from 1887 without anyone dying fighting for that right.)