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Jonathan Marks' Conflict Talk Looks at Cooperation Twixt Public and Private

By: Joey Haar - May 11, 2017
References: youtube
Jonathan Marks' conflict talk questions a platitude ubiquitous in society: conflict is bad, whereas collaboration, compromise, and consensus are good. The idea is ingrained in everything from children's television shows to international political commentary, and indeed it has an intuitive appeal. If there's a way to come to a compromise, why go through the struggle of a fight? As Marks posits, though, conflict may not be bad and compromise may be "thoroughly rotten" depending on context.

One example of the necessity of conflict comes in the very framing of the US's system of government. The government is divided into three branches: the legislative, the judicial, and the executive. Each of these has its own powers, but the effects of those powers create checks and balances that they exert upon one another. In other words, the branches must conflict with one another in order to function, and such conflicts symbolize a healthy government in which power is decentralized.

Further, basic economics can create situations where collaboration is bad. Imagine that the two dominant cab companies in a city got together and decided to raise their fares to a flat fee of $100 for every trip. This would be collaboration that harms the majority of people, and it's why conflict is a legal requirement of capitalism.