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Has Free Competition Come to an End?

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Yi Wang

The World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, commonly known as the Summer Davos, was held in Tianjin, China from June 27 to 29 this year. The event brought together approximately 1,500 government officials, business leaders, and influential figures from diverse sectors representing over 90 countries. Themed “Entrepreneurship: The Driving Force of the Global Economy,” the forum centered around discussions aimed at fostering innovation, promoting economic growth, and shaping a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient global economy.

An article by Deutsche Welles noted that the WEF “is trying to promote dialogue, despite ideological differences. Not everyone agrees with one another, but there are still representatives from 90 different countries here in Tianjin”.

Entrepreneurship thrives on innovation and adaptability, enabling a wide range of products and services through free market competition. Sustainable growth opportunities are generated through competitive bids, contributing to market dynamism. In the competitive landscape, there are no permanent top players or fixed business models. Technological advancements further accelerate changes, as new competitors can emerge and succeed at any time and from anywhere.

In true free market competition, businesses have the freedom to enter the arena and embrace new challenges, much like participants in sporting events. While not everyone emerges victorious, it cultivates an appreciation for diversity and individual distinctions, promoting equality and communication. The dedication required in competition enhances productivity and drives societal evolution. Competition fosters ambition, encouraging collective growth and development through business collaboration, joint research, and vibrant urban interactions.

However, geopolitical conflicts are dividing the global community and eroding the trust and rule of law essential for market economies. Intense regional disputes have led to excessive expansion of executive and judicial powers, transforming market competition into a monopolistic game where manipulation takes precedence, restricting businesses’ participation. Unequal opportunities in competitions have resulted in employment difficulties, pushing individuals into poverty and impacting social welfare. Social inequality intensifies, leading to concerns about eroding freedoms.

Businesses today face increasing levels of distrust, insecurity, and hate speech, raising concerns about their mental well-being. Geopolitical conflicts, rising prices in various countries, declining living standards for ordinary people, and stagnant consumption markets hinder industry innovation, leading to pessimism about the global outlook.

Access to quality education, employment opportunities, and community safety are crucial for personal and family development. However, factors such as economic recession, disease outbreaks, and climate crises pose threats globally. Decision-makers from different countries must strengthen coordination and cooperation while restraining impulses to intervene in markets and businesses. Klaus Schwab’s words at the inception of the WEF still resonate – there is an urgent need for new mechanisms to enhance international cooperation in today’s world.