2212. Competition means winners and losers. Can society afford losers?

Many search efforts in economics stress the value of the research and thinking to increasing competitiveness. But competition discussing winning implies losers. But can society afford losers? Who are they? What happens to their assets? Since losers make up a major part of society, (for forty years the bottom 80% has been flat in income while the cost of most things around them has gone up and the bottom fifteen percent ha really lost out) why are they not subject to more interest and inquiry?

(I think I know some answers but afterall this is a provocation)

D.H. Lawrence wrote an introduction to Edward Dahlberg’s novel Bottom Dogs.

When we think of America, and of her huge suecess, we never realize how many failures have gone, and still go to build up that success. It is not till you live in America, and go a little under the surface, that you begin to see how terrible and brutal is the mass of failure that nourishes the roots of the gigan~ tic tree of dollars. And this is especially so in the country, and in the newer parts of the land, particularly out west. There you see how many small ranches have gone broke in despair, before the big ranches scoop them up and profit by all the back-breaking, profitless, grim labour of the pioneer. In the west you can still see the pioneer work of tough, hard first-comer, individuals, and it is astounding to see how often these individuals, pioneer first-comers who fought like devils against their difficulties, have been defeated, broken, their efforts and their amazing hard work lost, as it were, on the face of the wilderness. But it is these hard-necked failures who really broke the resistance of the stubborn, obstinate country, and made it easier for the second wave of exploiters to come in with money and reap the harvest. The real pioneer in America fought like hell and suffered till the soul was ground out of him and then, nine times out of ten, failed, was beaten.

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