"Mises concisly summarized the role and nature of competition and the competitive process in the market order:
'Competitors aim at excellence and pre-eminence in accomplishments within a system of mutual cooperation. The function of competition is to assign to every member of a social system that position in which he can best serve the whole of society and all its members. It is a method for selecting the most able man for each performance...
The pricing process is a social process. It is consummated by an interaction of all members of the society. All collaborate and cooperate, each in the particular role he has chosen for himself in the framework of the division of labor. Competing in cooperation and cooperating in competition all people are instrumental in bringing about the result, viz., the price structure of the market, the allocation of the factors of production to the various lines of want-satisfaction, and the determination of the share of each individual.'
Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996), pp 117, 338.
Taken from Sept. 1999 issue of the Freeman, Ideas On Liberty, "Ludwig von Mises's 'Human Action: A 50th Anniversary Appreciation" pp 32-37.