I was only able to attend one of the speeches at the Academic Event of the Winter Institute, but I was glad it was Barry Nalebuff’s speech. Dr. Nalebluff is a professor of management at Yale University and is considered “an expert in business strategy and game theory” (Wikipedia). His speech was fascinating and I think Dr. Nalebluff is an excellent speaker. The title of his speech was also the subject of his book with Adam Brandenburger, “Co-opetition.” Co-opetition is a portmanteau of “cooperation” and “competition,” and it essentially means cooperative competition. The problem, says Dr. Nalebluff, is that we lack even the vocabulary to talk about the business strategy he advocates. What he advocates is that firms, even if they are competitors, work together in such a fashion that they can “expand the pie,” which he argues is better for both the consumer and the firms. He is careful to note that he does not advocate collusion or anti-competitive behavior. Co-opetition does not refer to how firms cooperate with each other to “divide the pie”; it is simply meant to increase the size of the industry as a whole and lower prices. He gives several examples of its application, but I won’t bother going into details here. The message I think that should be taken is that the old business models of “destroying your competition” and being envious results in less efficient outcomes than when firms also cooperate with each other in such a way that helps reduce prices and increase demand.

Another note I would like to make is regarding the Chile fundraising party that was held last Thursday. The Spanish Club along with several Chilean students hosted a dance for Chile in Atwood’s ballroom. The cost was $3 to get in and they also sold $1 raffle tickets for some prizes (e.g. music by Spanish professor Michael Hasbrouck). I was glad to volunteer my time; the earthquake that hit Chile was among the largest ever in history and killed hundreds of people and caused billions of dollars in damage that the Chilean government says will take years to recuperate from. The Chileans on campus, and there are not many, are quite distraught over the whole event, and rightfully so. I have to say though, people have been overwhelming generous in Chile’s time of need. In just 3 days, the organizers of this event collected nearly $1,800 in donations (most of which came from the dance). It hasn’t yet been decided where the money is going, but the organizers want to go toward helping out a small community that was struck by the earthquake. Again, I would like to say thanks to all the organizers who put on this event in such a short order and all those who have donated money for helping Chile.

Finally, I just finished writing an essay on globalization’s effect on child labor for my international economics class with Dr. Lo. I chose the topic after making a post last month about ending child labor. Though length quotas for the paper put a limit on how in-depth I could explore the subject (which is enormously vast), I did do some more research and I may make a new post regarding some of the findings I came across, which are indeed fascinating.