Research Article

Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 273-283

Cooperation, competition, and democracy

  • Shaomeng LiAffiliated withCollege of Philosophy & Sociology, Beijing Normal University Email author 


Rawlsian framework is based on a cooperation model, which takes a democratic society as a cooperation system. Such a conception of democracy not only obscures the distinction between democracy and despotism, but also makes it hard to argue for the superiority of democracy over despotism. This article develops a different model, the competition model, to explain the historical development towards democracy and to justify democracy as a social order superior to despotism. The article argues that once we adopt the competition model to understand democracy, its distinctive characters as well as its merits will fully bear out.


cooperation competition neutrality liberties