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Opportunity Hoarding III: Positive, Neutral & Negative Competition

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Competition, by its very nature, yields winners and non-winners. For individuals and teams (individuals acting collectively) the results of a competition can be positive, neutral or negative for them. For example, a parent who leaks information about rival children to college admissions officers might get a positive outcome (her child is admitted over the competition) and the competing children might get a negative outcome (they are not admitted). While assessing from the perspective of an individual or team is one way to approach assessing the consequences of competition, it is also worth assessing competitions in terms of their consequences for all involved. This is especially important when the competition is occurring within a society and is under the control of that society. The competition for educational opportunities in the United States is an excellent example of this. Image Credit When assessing the consequences of competitions for all involved, the results can be positive, neutral or negative. This is a spectrum rather than an absolute division and, of course, individual experiences can vary.  A positive competition yields positive value (which must be defined) for all those involved (which must also be defined). In an ideal positive competition, everyone engaged in the competition is better off by competing than they would be without the competition. This would include being better off than if the distribution of benefits was done equally without competition. Friendly sports and games provide a paradigm example of positive competition. For example, while there will be but winner of a game of Risk, everyone playing it can have fun and thus gain from the competition. As another example, a 5K race will have winners and non-winners, but everyone can have an enjoyable run and be better for the competition. As a final example, some claim that an Adam Smith style economy can be a positive competition: while some business will succeed and. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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