Social Studies 10

“The Creative Monopoly” Questions

How does David Brooks define “creative monopoly”?

According to Brooks, “creative monopoly” is “doing something so creative that you establish a distinct market, niche, and identity”. He says people should become good monopolists who create something entirely new and dominate it instead of competing to be better than other people in an already established field.

According to the article, is competition a good thing? Does it come with costs? Cite an example.

Of course competition can be good, but this article focuses on how it turns bad when the main point of doing something becomes beating the competition. One example of this is in politics – candidates often enter politics wanting to bring change, but once the campaign starts, they devote all of their focus, time, money, and energy on winning against their opponent instead of making a change for the people.

Even though I do not know much about American politics, from reading some articles and watching the news, it seems as though this is very true. Right now, with the 2012 elections, Obama and Romney are running against each other, and I hear more stories about their competition than what plans they have for bringing change.

List the skills to be competitive.

  • discipline
  • rigor
  • reliability
I would add:
  • confidence: you must have confidence in yourself and what you are doing

List the skills to become a creative monopolist.

  • alertness
  • independence
  • ability to reclaim forgotten traditions

I would add:

  • knowledgeable: you must be smart about the ideas
  • planner: you must have a clear plan of how things will work

Do you agree with the lists above? What would you add?

I completely agree with the lists above. I believe that competitive skills are important to have because in real life, competition does exist everywhere, and sometimes you need to win a competition to achieve what you want. However, competition is not everything. As Brooks explained, it may be more important to be successful monopolists – people who can invent completely new ideas by themselves. While I agree, for me it is much easier to be competitive than be a monopolist because I am so used to being in a competitive environment – for example in school, I am surrounded by competition – and I think many other people feel the same.


2 thoughts on ““The Creative Monopoly” Questions

  1. Good reflection. You’re right: school is full of competition. However, do you think it’s “unhealthy” or imbalanced? And does the answer depend on the person? Do you think that if we increased the competition you will raise your performance?

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    I think competition at school can be good and bad, and I think it does depend on the person because everyone has different ways of dealing with competition. For me, being surrounded by my competitive peers raises my performance in school – they set high standards and they make me feel like I should be working just as hard as they are. Even though I say competition is good overall, it can be negative and “unhealthy” when people start focusing on JUST the grades – if they scored higher than someone on a test/assignment, etc. instead of learning from the work and trying to improve.

    But I guess competition at my school isn’t as intense as some other schools (I have some friends who go to extremely competitive Japanese schools) because students can kind of choose if they want to be competitive or not.

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