Competition

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For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes?
~ W. B. Yeats
I was perpetuating my own oppression by engaging in competitive capitalist practices that ensure the smooth functioning of the system as the exploiting minority profits in more ways than one off the division and disunity engendered by competition, so prevalent amongst the exploited. Look around: competition, euphemistically called “individuality,” permeates and is systematically promoted to the masses of people while the corporate conglomerations and Fortune 500 are busy “merging and monopolizing.” ~ Kevin Rashid Johnson
I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks. ~ Eugene Debs
Abolish competition and replace it with association. ~ Friedrich Engels
Competition is merely the absence of oppression. ~ Frédéric Bastiat
The dominant culture of the world teaches us that The Other is a threat, that our fellow human beings are a danger. We will all continue to be exiles in one form or another as long as we continue to accept the paradigm that the world is a racetrack or a battlefield. ~ Eduardo Galeano
Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Suppose your brain said, "I'm the most important organ!" And the liver said, "I am. And I want a Free Enterprise system!" You'd rot away in a month if every organ of your body went out for itself. ~ Jacque Fresco
Free competition is worth more to society than it costs. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
In economic life competition is never completely lacking, but hardly ever is it perfect. ~ Joseph Schumpeter

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, or as a form of recreation. Competition is often considered to be the opposite of cooperation, however wherever the world is dominated by corporations & extreme wealth, mixtures of cooperation, competition, & corruption are the norm.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

B[edit]

  • Competition is merely the absence of oppression.
  • Such a businessman has never become rich whose mouth was full of slander and his heart full of envy of success of the others, who could with great skill reveal the mistakes of his competitor. However that one has never been and will never be poor who serves his customers with words of cordial kindness and whose eyes can see rather the positive than the negative features of the competitor so that he could use them.
    • Tomas Bata (1928), translated and cited in: Tribus, Myron. "Lessons from Tomas Bata for the Modern Day Manager." Tvůrčí odkaz Tomáše Bati a současné podnikatelské metody (2001).
  • "The next of the great wastes was that from competition. The field of industry was a battlefield as wide as the world, in which the workers wasted, in assailing one another, energies which, if expended in concerted effort, as to-day, would have enriched all. As for mercy or quarter in this warfare, there was absolutely no suggestion of it. To deliberately enter a field of business and destroy the enterprises of those who had occupied it previously, in order to plant one's own enterprise on their ruins, was an achievement which never failed to command popular admiration. Nor is there any stretch of fancy in comparing this sort of struggle with actual warfare, so far as concerns the mental agony and physical suffering which attended the struggle, and the misery which overwhelmed the defeated and those dependent on them. Now nothing about your age is, at first sight, more astounding to a man of modern times than the fact that men engaged in the same industry, instead of fraternizing as comrades and co-laborers to a common end, should have regarded each other as rivals and enemies to be throttled and overthrown. This certainly seems like sheer madness, a scene from bedlam.


  • The producers of the nineteenth century were not, like ours, working together for the maintenance of the community, but each solely for his own maintenance at the expense of the community.
  • Their system of unorganized and antagonistic industries was as absurd economically as it was morally abominable. Selfishness was their only science, and in industrial production selfishness is suicide. Competition, which is the instinct of selfishness, is another word for dissipation of energy, while combination is the secret of efficient production; and not till the idea of increasing the individual hoard gives place to the idea of increasing the common stock can industrial combination be realized, and the acquisition of wealth really begin. Even if the principle of share and share alike for all men were not the only humane and rational basis for a society, we should still enforce it as economically expedient, seeing that until the disintegrating influence of self-seeking is suppressed no true concert of industry is possible.'

C[edit]

  • 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

D[edit]

  • If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and misrepresentatives of the masses — you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.
    • Eugene Debs, "The Canton, Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech" in The Call (16 June 1918)

E[edit]

  • And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
  • In previous ages a nation's life and culture could be protected to some extent by the growth of armies in national competition. Today we must abandon competition and secure cooperation. This must be the central fact in all our considerations of international affairs; otherwise we face certain disaster.
    • Albert Einstein; reported in Michael Amrine, "The Real Problem is in the Hearts of Man", New York Times Magazine (23 June 1946).
  • You have reduced the number of wars—to earn all the bigger profits in peace, to intensify to the utmost the enmity between individuals, the ignominious war of competition!
  • The liberal economic system had done its best to universalise enmity, to transform mankind into a horde of ravenous beasts (for what else are competitors?).
  • Competition – that is, a state of society in which everyone has the right to enter into any branch of industry, the only obstacle being a lack of the necessary capital. ... The introduction of free competition is thus public declaration that from now on the members of society are unequal only to the extent that their capitals are unequal, that capital is the decisive power, and that therefore the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, have become the first class in society. Free competition is necessary for the establishment of big industry, because it is the only condition of society in which big industry can make its way.
  • Since the management of industry by individuals necessarily implies private property, and since competition is in reality merely the manner and form in which the control of industry by private property owners expresses itself, it follows that private property cannot be separated from competition and the individual management of industry. Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement – in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods.
  • Prostitutes are the inevitable product of a society that places ultimate importance on money, possessions, and competition.
    • Jane Fonda, in Thomas Kiernan, Jane: An Intimate Biography of Jane Fonda (1970)

F[edit]

  • The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action … 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: — the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; … 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily...
  • Competition is dangerous, socially offensive, considered right and normal, because you are brought up to that value system. What kind of competition did Jesus have? What kind of competition is there in your body? Suppose your brain said, "I'm the most important organ!" And the liver said, "I am. And I want a Free Enterprise system!" You'd rot away in a month if every organ of your body went out for itself.

G[edit]

  • The dominant culture of the world teaches us that The Other is a threat, that our fellow human beings are a danger. We will all continue to be exiles in one form or another as long as we continue to accept the paradigm that the world is a racetrack or a battlefield.
  • 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

H[edit]

  • 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).

J[edit]

  • Capitalist-private property relations are the source of class inequalities, which is the primary factor in my being a member of a class that bears all the burdens of society without enjoying its advantages. Under the influence of illegitimate-capitalist values, I was pursuing the alleviation of social-economic hardship through individual advancement. This is a wholly inadequate remedy to social problems because it doesn’t challenge the fundamental injustice of class-exploitation and class-oppression, which are responsible for creating the socio-economic ills in the first place. Unaware of my class interest, I was perpetuating my own oppression by engaging in competitive capitalist practices that ensure the smooth functioning of the system as the exploiting minority profits in more ways than one off the division and disunity engendered by competition, so prevalent amongst the exploited. Look around: competition, euphemistically called “individuality,” permeates and is systematically promoted to the masses of people while the corporate conglomerations and Fortune 500 are busy “merging and monopolizing.”
    • Kevin Rashid Johnson, Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin Rashid Johnson (2010)

K[edit]

  • 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
  • The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.
  • In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you.
  • Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased. The competitive spirit is merely an additive process which is not learning at all. We want the child to learn and not merely add knowledge to himself like a machine. To help the child to learn basically and fundamentally he must cease to compete, with all its implications... Competitiveness is destructive not only in the classroom but right through life.

M[edit]

R[edit]

  • 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.
  • Success is whatever humiliation everyone has agreed to compete for.
  • 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.
  • A man with no friends, only live for revenge
    Live his life off the henge, cut, through a thousand men
    Blade swing with the force of a cyclone
    Cut crystal and bone, pistol and chrome
    Stand in my path, you're a dead man
    I cut the whole world in half for the Number One headband
    Quest of a lonely soul, on a lonely road.
    • RZA, Afro Samurai Theme

S[edit]

  • A person whose mind is distracted lives between the fangs of mental afflictions. ... They feel envy toward a superior, competitiveness with a peer, arrogance toward one who is inferior, conceit due to praise and anger due to reproach. When could there be any benefit from a fool?
    • Santideva, A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, V. Wallace and B. Wallace, trans. (1997), § 8
  • Zero sum game implies winners and losers. If somebody wins, somebody gotta lose…. I don’t agree with that. Because all boats can rise on a rising sea. Good films help other good films. Different psychology. If you’re overly competitive, you say it is exclusionary, a zero sum game: I must win so he must lose. That’s not true. We can all win without forcing the other guy to lose.
  • Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant.
    • Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you.
    • Ancient Roman proverb [1] ** Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum ("The Life of the Caesars", or "The Twelve Caesars")

T[edit]

  • You have a real life if and only if you do not compete with anyone in any of your pursuits.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) Theseus, or Living the Paleo Life, p.39.

W[edit]

  • 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.
  • There can be only one.
    • Tagline to Highlander, written by Gregory Widen, Peter Bellwood, and Larry Ferguson.

Y[edit]

  • Now all the truth is out,
    Be secret and take defeat
    From any brazen throat,
    For how can you compete,
    Being honor bred, with one
    Who, were it proved he lies,
    Were neither shamed in his own
    Nor in his neighbors’ eyes?
    Bred to a harder thing
    Than Triumph, turn away
    And like a laughing string
    Whereon mad fingers play
    Amid a place of stone,
    Be secret and exult,
    Because of all things known
    That is most difficult.
    • W. B. Yeats, “To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing”

Z[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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