It is not entirely clear whether Isaac Newton would have ever shared his development of the calculus if he had not been provoked by hearing that Leibniz was publishing his work on the same topic. Newton's brilliance might have never made a difference in the world if his pride and need to show off had not overcome his terrible tendancy to keep his best work to himself just to have an advantage that only he knew about.
We have a similar problem today. ITT, a developer of powerful night-vision and other vision advantage technology has just been fined one hundred million dollars for allowing specifications for components of their technology to be shared with companies outside the U.S. including China. The problem is that such specifications are the heart of U.S. military advantage due to advanced technology. We do have laws that prohibit sharing scientific and technological development that gives us an edge. Of course, everyone knows that without sharing and open discussion, science and technology are slowed down or even stifled entirely condemning future generations to lack advantages that they will never know they could of had. Oh well, I guess if they never know what they are missing, they can't complain.
My disappointment is the fact that I can't argue against our laws that prohibit free exchange of ideas. The fact is, humans are dangerous. Our security depends on our maintaining a technological advantage. Competition is simply a fact of life. We compete as individuals and we choose groups to belong to with whom we cooperate in order to compete with other groups. Competition has been viewed as an evil problem by some. My father used to push for banning competition for grades and other recognition in school, believing that such competition held back those that were not performing well. Sometimes I try to imagine what life would be like with world-wide cooperation on everything rather than competition. Then, I realize, there wouldn't be any humans (or other life for that matter) in such a world. Competition seems to provide the motivation for the pursuit of excellence and the limited cooperation we do enjoy. For now, I'll simply have to settle for seeking out groups for cooperation that will benefit from my input and together we will reach for that next step up in science and technology.