Why has competition evolved to be the leading principle of market based economies? Can this sustain in the long run?

I am thinking about cooperation as a better principle of doing things in the long term... However, this probably goes back to consumerism and maximizing utility by consumers and thus a necessary "competition" between manufacturers...

In the end, consumerism (consumption?) may lead to environmental damages.

  • $\begingroup$ This question is off-topic on this site. The first paragraph asks about why market economies are the way they are, and Economics cannot really answer that (it can only attempt to formalize it). One would need to go into biology, history, philosophy, sociology, etc. The second and the third paragraph invite answers that most likely will be strongly opinion-based, since they contain value-judgements ("better" principle), or vague statements -any human economic action leads to "environmental damage" since it transforms the environment. Measurement, reversibility, time horizon, enter crucially. $\endgroup$ – Alecos Papadopoulos Jul 8 '15 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ I would also argue that there is a lot of cooperation in market based economies so it is unclear what you mean by 'leading principle'. While I believe that evolutionary modelling could be used to answer some parts of this question, in its current form it's unclear what you are asking. Even if I make a guess at what exactly you mean, you are likely to get very different answers for different assumptions, so the answers will mostly be opinion based. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Jul 8 '15 at 17:11