Competition, Consequences

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Summary

Competition in biology, ecology, and sociology, is a contest between organisms, animals, individuals, groups, etc., for territory, a niche, or a location of resources, for resources and goods, mates, for prestige, recognition, awards, or group or social status, for leadership. Competition is the opposite of cooperation. It arises whenever at least two parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared or which is desired individually but not in sharing and cooperation. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment.Keddy, P.A. 2001.

Details

Competition can have both beneficial and detrimental effects. Many evolutionary biologists view inter-species and intra-species competition as the driving force of adaptation, and ultimately of evolution. However, some biologists, most famously Richard Dawkins, prefer to think of evolution in terms of competition between single genes, which have the welfare of the organism 'in mind' only insofar as that welfare furthers their own selfish drives for replication. Some social darwinists claim that competition also serves as a mechanism for determining the best-suited group; politically, economically and ecologically. Positively, competition may serve as a form of recreation or a challenge provided that it is non-hostile. On the negative side, competition can cause injury and loss to the organisms involved, and drain valuable resources and energy. In the human species competition can be expensive on many levels, not only in lives lost to war, physical injuries, and damaged psychological well beings, but also in the health effects from everyday civilian life caused by work stress, long work hours, abusive working relationships, and poor working conditions, that detract from the enjoyment of life, even as such competition results in financial gain for the owners.

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