Competition results from the struggle for existence and for livelihood. The action of trying to gain what others are trying to gain at the same time may be either unconscious or conscious. As it becomes self-conscious it tends to pass over into social conflict. Despite widespread acclaim, competitiveness is far from being an efficient and effective response to the present problems and opportunities of individual societies and of the new world order. The most striking result of the ideology of competition is that, in addition to its devastating social effects, it generates a structural distortion in the functioning of the economy itself. Most evident is that international economic competition has effectively become a competition in the elimination of jobs and the reduction of living standards. Success is in such competition is achieved by sacrificing the interests of the most vulnerable. Furthermore, if everybody competes against everybody, the value of competitiveness is ultimately lost and sooner or later the system will collapse. Competitiveness reduces the diversity within the system by eliminating those unable to resist the dominant forces thus contributing to social exclusion. The ideology of competition either ignores or devalues cooperation, or it instrumentalizes it to its own logic, as in the case of the great majority of interfirm cooperative and strategic alliances. Competitiveness reduces the entire process of the human and social development to the perceptions, motivations and behaviour of "homo economicus".
Hostility is a frequent result of competition in the workplace, the classroom, the home, the playing field; any place where one person's success depends on another's failure. This is what competition means: mutually exclusive goal attainment. Instead of labouring together toward a common end, people are obliged to work against one another. Since competition is a kind of aggression, it is not surprising that it often leads to physical violence.
Competition enters all major areas of man's life and generally connotes rivalry between two or more individuals or groups for a given prize. It is often an end in itself, as in the case of sporting events. In economic life competition is not a goal: it is a means of organizing economic activity to achieve a goal. The economic role of competition is to discipline the various participants in economic life to provide their goods and services skillfully and reasonably.