Anyone today who flips on the television to one of the multitude of 'reality tv' shows will see the intense competition and ferocity that is displayed between the contenders for a prize. On The Weakest Link, when there are about three people left, the smartest one will be voted off because the dumber ones want a better shot at the prize money. People always use the excuse, "I'm playing to win," or "Kill or be killed," and a variety of excuses along those lines. One concept that is highly misunderstood among people today is the difference between healthy and harmful competition.

Well, here's a wakeup call to the millions out there who honestly believe in this philosophy. This form of competition is designed to keep you down and out of the real runnings. It's designed to keep you ignorant; to make you think you've won when you've already lost. People who really believe in this philosophy rarely make it beyond lower or middle management. Ask any senior executive in a big company, they'll tell you.

Large firms and companies understand that if they take this attitude on a large scale, it will lead to extremely destructive competition. In economics, if one makes an economic profit, it will soon disappear because of competition. To prevent this, companies that are competitors work together discreetly to control prices and competition. Take for instance the tobacco industry. If one company decides to slash prices and gain market share, the others will be pulled into a dangerous price war. The same with the Airline industry. As a result, these companies communicate through mutual understanding and through gestures, so they can avoid these pricy wars. If they did this out in the open, it would be illegal and in restraint of trade. However, by communicating through gesture and mutual understanding, they both make enormous profits.

One exception people say to this is Microsoft, whose fierce competitive practices and kill or be killed mentality has vaulted them to the top. This is again wrong, because MSFT is a special case. MSFT has practiced fierce competition, but through a mentality of "Buy you or destroy you." Microsoft has tons of partners and links with firms that provide some sort of competitor products. They have strong links with AOL (who owns their competing browser Netscape) and with Apple Computer and their rival MacOS to Windows.

The fact of the matter is that the large corporations realize that the market is not a zero sum game. They work together for mutual benefit so they can both make larger profits. Working together, they make more money than any one single would after fighting costly wars. This is known as oligopolistic competition. Some competition to keep eachother one their toes, but at the same time, mutual profits and benefits.

By keeping you in that mentality and having you compete with one another, large firms easily filter out who the real managers and potential ones are. They identify the ones who compete when they have to, but understand that teamwork and effort are the real builders, not just greed and ambition.