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Competition is the rivalry of two or more parties over something. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which coexist in the same environment. For example, animals compete over water supplies, food, and mates. In addition, humans compete for attention, wealth, prestige, and fame.


  • Competition is merely the absence of oppression.
  • The difficulty in project management is how to apply competition between task efforts and between subtask efforts when such things as the task managers' work, schedules, and budgets are all different. Competition is apparent at only the grossest level, between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.; and this competition is too removed, too broad, and full of too many unknown factors to provide an effective day by day incentive to all project personnel.
    • John Stanley Baumgartner (1963) Project management. p. 86
  • Thou shalt not covet, but tradition
    Approves all forms of competition.
    • Arthur Hugh Clough, "The Latest Decalogue", lines 19-20
    • Published in The Poems and Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough...Volume II: Poems (1869), page 186
  • The world of antitrust is reminiscent of Alice’s Wonderland: everything seemingly is, yet apparently isn’t, simultaneously. It is a world in which competition is lauded as the basic axiom and guiding principle, yet "too much" competition is condemned as "cutthroat." It is a world in which actions designed to limit competition are branded as criminal when taken by businessmen, yet praised as "enlightened" when initiated by the government. It is a world in which the law is so vague that businessmen have no way of knowing whether specific actions will be declared illegal until they hear the judge’s verdict—after the fact.
    • Alan Greenspan "Antitrust", essay at the National Association of Business Economists (25 September 1961); published in Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
  • Free competition is worth more to society than it costs.'
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Vegelahn v. Guntner, 167 Mass. 92, 44 N.E. 1077, 1080 (1896) (opinion of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts).
  • Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition — in having to put forth the best within you to match the deeds of risk-taking, hard-working competitors.
    • Henry J. Kaiser, in: DeWitt Wallace, ‎Lila Acheson Wallace (1950), The Reader's Digest, Vol. 56, p. 18
  • In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you.
  • Whoever claims that economic competition represents "survival of the fittest" in the sense of the law of the jungle, provides the clearest possible evidence of his lack of knowledge of economics.
  • The truth is that economic competition is the very opposite of competition in the animal kingdom. It is not a competition in the grabbing off of scarce nature-given supplies, as it is in the animal kingdom. Rather, it is a competition in the positive creation of new and additional wealth.
  • To my knowledge significant progress has never been born of competition. … In science, being 'better' than others is of little practical value. Examples of how absurd the idea of scientific competition is are abundant.
    • Heinrich Rohrer, in Science - A Part of Our Future, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews Vol. 19, 193, 1994.
  • Oliver E. Williamson has argued that markets and hierarchical organizations, such as firms, represent alternative governance structures which differ in their approaches to resolving conflicts of interest. The drawback of markets is that they often entail haggling and disagreement. The drawback of firms is that authority, which mitigates contention, can be abused. Competitive markets work relatively well because buyers and sellers can turn to other trading partners in case of dissent. But when market competition is limited, firms are better suited for conflict resolution than markets. A key prediction of Williamson's theory, which has also been supported empirically, is therefore that the propensity of economic agents to conduct their transactions inside the boundaries of a firm increases along with the relationship-specific features of their assets.

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