Alfie Kohn states that competition is a part of everyday life of every American. Even small children are already taught to compete. Competition becomes their instinct; they actually do not know what they do. One of the examples of competition is sport. Fans are happy to hysteria when their team wins, even though they do not benefit from it.
Competition is always unhealthy. It causes many conflicts between competitive groups. For example, Alfie Kohn was involved in a competition himself. He took part in debates and wanted to show his best in discussions. However, later he understood that those debates were no use; they only took much time to find evidence and to prepare.
The cost of competition in the society is very high. Actually, it is an occasion for anxiety. From childhood competition is drummed into us. For example, the aim of school is not to grow a good person with knowledge, but to provide competition between children: “Who is cleverer?” “Who gets better marks?” “Who is sportier?” and so on.
When we grow up, our competition becomes much more severe. It is a necessary part of everyday life. At the market competition is not required, it is demanded. The firm is considered to be good only if it has large profits. We compete always even to get a better lover or a friend.
Alfie Kohn states that it is healthy competition that must be provided in the society. Only then the society will become more successful and humanistic.
Kohn insists that competition is fully unhealthy and should be eliminated. I partly agree with him that nowadays competition is rather unhealthy and, to my mind, it exists in the spheres where it should not be present. It can influence people’s psychic health unfavorably. However, I do not think that competition should be eliminated everywhere. It may be useful as it encourages people and society to change something for the better.
I agree with Kohn as to the competition in school and among small children. I think it is harmful to teach them to compete. Children should play, study and cognize the world. Studying is an important children’s feature. If taught to compete early, children can become cruel and selfish. I think it is no use in competition at school. Children should go to school to study, to get new knowledge, but not to compete. It is no use in children’s deciding who studies better or who is better in sports. It is bad when they laugh at somebody who studies worse than they do. Children often do not really understand what competition is. They compete because others do the same.
I heard the opinions of some psychologists that the marks at school can be harmful, because they encourage children to compete. Some psychologists want marks to be eliminated. I disagree with it, because without marks it would be difficult to understand the level of your knowledge. It also would be difficult to understand who can enter the college or university and who cannot. I heard that in some countries marks at school exist, but they are confidential. Your classmates cannot know your marks. I think it is a good decision, because it helps to decrease the level of competition among children.
I agree with Kohn’s opinion about competition in our everyday life. I consider it to be overvalued. To my mind, friends and lovers should be chosen for their inner world, interests and opinions. I think that it is not right to choose them for their wealth, popularity or successes in competition with others. I also agree with Kohn that competition in everyday life becomes more and more unhealthy. For instance, it is well known that people from reach and famous families often have better chances in life, profession and business than people from ordinary families.
On the other hand, I do not agree with Kohn about the market competition. Of course, it can be unhealthy. It is clear that people never had equal chances in business. They depend on a person’s reputation, mind, friends who help in business, good partners, and, of course, sometimes on unfair deeds.
However, I think that market competition is vitally important. It may be healthy or not. Unhealthiness can be eliminated by government or the society. The issue is that market is different from everyday life. The law of supply and demand cannot be eliminated. Producers are unable to sell more than customers need. There are many firms willing to trade, yet they all are not able to be equally successful. Thus, competition helps to decide which firm is the most compatible, which one produces the best products at the most appropriate prices. Therefore, business is one of the spheres where competition is vitally important. Business and capitalistic market cannot exist without competition.
It can be summarized that competition has always been a part of our life. Whether we want it or not, competition exists. Without it our life would not be the same as we see it now. In modern life competition is sometimes overvalued. It is also unhealthy sometimes. Of course, something should be done to cope with it. Nevertheless, competition cannot be completely eliminated.