… is from pages 116-117 of the original edition of Lawrence Abbott’s superb 1955 volume, Quality and Competition :
This view of price competition as a dynamic process leads to the conclusion that competition tends to die down in neighborhoods of equilibrium and to spring up or become more active when a disequilibrating change occurs….
Again we come face to face with the idea that competition is not so much a state of affairs as a method of altering the existing state of affairs. It is, in particular, the method by which an economy in disequilibrium finds its way toward equilibrium. Any society that has already reached that happy state has no need for active competition. It is because equilibrium is so elusive in our flesh-and-blood world that competition plays so dominant a role in capitalist societies.