What is competition? It is the analysis of how species compete with one another for resources, usually physical resources, such as food, shelter, and other things necessary for their survival. Competition is usually defined as a situation where one species has an advantage over another in a given situation, such as where one species can develop an offspring that will yield a specific amount of food. Limited supply of only one resource used by both species can also be a consideration.
In society, competition is typically defined as the interaction among human societies and their members, organizations, etc. that attempts to increase the productivity of society at the expense of the others. Limited supply of only one resource used collectively by all can be considered as competition.
It may sound like a complicated definition but it’s really quite simple. Consider a simple race. Two runners are running down the track. One runner is intentionally trying to beat the other to the finish line first. The race is called competition because the efforts of both runners are focused on achieving that particular goal.
Now consider another situation where two competitors are running the same route. They both want to win because they are trying to finish first. However, there is a limited supply of their resource (water) while the other is running at a disadvantage due to low oxygen. The two have limited choices. Therefore, competition exists.
In society, limited resources occur all the time. For example, the earth has a limited amount of oil, coal, natural gas, etc. As human beings become more affluent, they are extracting natural resources from the earth at greater rates. This is called competition among individuals for those limited resources.
When we examine natural resources, we see that humans are engaged in limited resource competition. Humans have been extracting these resources from the earth for thousands of years. However, there is a limited supply. For example, the earth has plenty of coal, oil, natural gas, etc., but humans have been trying to take these from the earth for a shorter period of time. As a result, we are currently running out of these resources.
Limited resources are not the only thing causing competition. Resource competition exists among other organisms, bacteria, plants, microcosms, and worms. All of these compete to be the most efficient. The end result is that the most efficient runs the greatest risk of winning the race.
So, just as humans can run into each other and use every trick in the book to beat each other, various types of organisms engage in similar strategies as well. If you study what is the competition you will soon find that there are many different strategies that different types of organisms employ to acquire and retain their own resources. There are even strategies used to attack or defend themselves as well. You might think that it is impossible to observe such behavior in humans, but you would be surprised.
Consider, for example, parasite competition. What is this? Parasites are parasites that live on other organisms. In the human world, certain types of parasites attack and consume healthy tissue. These are known as pathogens or pathogenic bacteria.
When what is the competition? Pathogens are just the tip of the iceberg. Humans can engage in so many different behaviors that they may be considered competitive. Take, for example, child obesity. In today’s society, children are bombarded with messages encouraging them to want to be thin, especially in skinny versions.
This encourages them to do all kinds of things to try to get the weight off. They exercise, eat poorly, quit exercising, and so on. What is human nature doing here? It seems that human beings don’t like to lose any more weight, so they work even harder to try to get it off.
When we think about the future of mankind and how we’re shaping our species, what is human nature telling us? It’s telling us that we must work harder, smarter, and longer than any previous generation in the history of the species to maintain our level of existence as a species. How does human intelligence play into this? In part, I believe that understanding the nature of competition will allow us to understand what is necessary to successfully run a civilization.