Is Competition Important?

Is competition vital to advancement despite the drawbacks and backsteps it can cause?

This is my question in the general sense, even when working together is it a good thing to want to be the ‘winner’?  In a larger sense is having a sense of competition better than having a global community spirit, of course we should seek to have a little bit of both. 

I once heard somebody describe the moon lands as something along the lines of fuck you, look what we can do. I think this does have a sense of being true. The need for weapons in nations and the need to do better than other schools. The need to be above something or somebody else in some regard seems pretty strong in human nature.

While it’s true that we have great examples of behaving good there is an argument that can be made that these are something along the lines of a scratch my back and I will scratch yours mentality. Something that has some credence in the ideas of a stable strategy. A developmental situation wherein something is done to give a reaction that benefits us in some way. This can be looked on a far grander scale in the idea of an evolutionarily stable strategy. So while it may be true we do things to be nice why that is the case could be a little more complicated than that.

I put forward the assertion that competition is a similar thing. It’s no question that sometimes a little friendly competition is a good thing but even if to the detriment of the team spirit somebody racing a head can lead to mixed results but they do stand out and gain an advantage.

I think this is something that nations also do linking to my Ego Of Nations post. The creation of the Warsaw Pact as a response to NATO was clearly a good idea from a defence perspective. It also has the benefit of prolong an arms race but what it also does is provide a sense of community and contribution which is greater than what individual members could do on this scale. I do think it is also about having a sense of a club and pride.

After the First World War the Treaty Of Versailles  did have an element of blaming Germany for the first world war. This provides nothing more than a dig at a country which is often here at least described as a proud nation. A proud nation of course being a compliment.

It is perhaps important that nations have developed a sense of pride and identity for the reason of advancement. A Swiss watchmaker has a reputation to live up to and this is given in the Chronometer stamp. This of course extends to individuals the pursuance of fame being a good example.

To want to do better is the easiest way to achieve being better. In previous posts I have discussed that the Cold War lead to many advancements because of competition I do however wish to pose a question. If rather than a Cold War we had a ‘lets all get together for the sake of mankind’ party what would be the outlook of the world? We do live in a world where others are a threat but in the media it seems more of a hopeless cause than a rallying cry to do better generally.

I think we while would have lived in a more peaceful world may not have advanced as much. The space race was a race for a reason. It was a battle of advancement and ego the ending of the Cold War seemed to make this sort of thing less important.

I think Kennedy here was right. We do the things because they are hard, because we want to be the best. I also think this is an appeal many far right parties go for one example being the EU. Yes there is a lot to say on the advantages and disadvantages and the need for sovereignty but I do think a small part does come down to the fact we as a nation want to feel that we are not subject to anybody. I imagine a reader thinking that of course they would not want their country subject to political or military rule by another and I would agree but why do we?

The French and the English is a good example. There is a national rivalry to an extent between these two nations. One of the reasons for this is the Hundred Years War. It these days is a little tongue in cheek but it is true that as with a football teams derby or competing in the Olympics in your own country has an effect. While war is not a positive the lasting impact of the French – English connection I feel is a good thing.

Good for business? (

To conclude to keep this short and simple I feel that competition is something that is vital and something that is important be it in the school or on a national international level. The push to be better than you currently are and to do better than those around us while not feeling weak or vulnerable. Perhaps the reason that we have an ego of nations is because simply put those with the ambition did better. While this can be applied to economics don’t think I am putting this as a universal true. It is however imperative that we exploit and create harmless competition but to also work together. As humans we work better in a society than as ourselves but it seems more of a carrot to do it to be better than that society down the street or because we could than to say we did this for advancement.

Still I invite comments on this. I have made this more of an argument than previous posts. Do you think that we work better trying to reach the top than to rise to the top with a sense of comradeship?

“It’s the taking part that is important but the only important thing is winning”


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One thought on “Is Competition Important?

  1. jkmhoffman May 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on kjmhoffman.

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