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The Major Types of Competition

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Competition is nothing but a competition in which two or more persons try to attain a common objective that cannot be shared: for example, where the common benefit of one is the destruction of the common loss of another. Competition can also arise between organisms like individuals, groups, social and economic groups, etc. In the life sciences, competition can arise among different species of bacteria for the antibiotic-free germ cells (Riccardia spp.) and between yeast for sugars for sugar. It has also shown up in the relationships among humans, where there can be competition for mates and for jobs, or, where one group tries to dominate over another.


Of course, the most famous forms of competition are the ones that we see in science classrooms. The three most famous of these, however, are for simple performance, where each team attempts to outperform the other in a particular task; for prize competitions, which reward those teams that perform better than average; and for head-to-head competitions, where each team challenges the others to reach a particular objective, usually a cumulative total, as judged by the judges. In all three cases, the principle of natural selection is at work: the fittest wins. However, the meaning of the term “natural” is open to debate, as is the definition of the word “performance.”

A popular school of thought concerning natural selection is that in natural selection, the greatest gains are reaped by the strongest members of a population. Proponents of this view maintain that competitive versus non-competitive environments cause individuals within a population to compete for dominant positions, thus with an equal chance of survival, increasing the genetic variation for the fitness of future generations. By nature, however, all types of competition are harmful to the individuals involved. Therefore, while a head-to-head competition between predator and prey can drive up the aggression in both animals, a contest among friends can promote friendly competition among individuals, increasing genetic variation for both fitness and moral improvement. For this reason, all types of competition must be either replaced with a more constructive form of competition or else avoided altogether.

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