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Limited vs. Unlimited Resources

Nov 30, 2012

In game theory and economics, a zero-sum game is a closed system in which one participant gaining means another must lose. Available resources are limited or finite- so gains and losses must add up to zero.

In contrast, a non-zero-sum refers to situations in which gaining does not require someone else to lose. Resources are not limited. In other words, new resources can be tapped into or created.

In recent history, business and commerce has primarily operated with a limited resources, zero-sum paradigm.

Competition, predatory behavior, and greed stem from this limited perception of resources. If there are only so many resources, we are left to compete for them or take them from someone.

However, technology and the world’s interconnectedness has made the unlimited resources, non-zero-sum paradigm more feasible. In business, for instance, it is now easier than ever to create demand or new markets.

This perspective says the resources are out there if we just figure out how to tap into them. This creates a shift from seeing others as competition to seeing them as potential partners to collaborate with.

Since the world is in transition and at different levels of development simultaneously, you can find whichever of these paradigms that you look for. The way we view things becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So if you believe the world’s resources are limited and need to be fought for, you will find markets to support that. Likewise, if you believe that resources are unlimited and business can be collaborative, you will find that.

Perhaps, this is why our nation is so divided. People are looking for and finding the world to be different things.

So for the first time in history, you get to choose which of these worlds and markets that you want to interact in. Which of these worlds do you want to live in?

Photo by Daniel Weiss on Unsplash

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