Economists, politicians, business leaders and opinion makers are convinced that competition enhances efficiency and maximises social welfare. As a result conditions conducive to the maximisation of competition have been created throughout developed capitalist societies. This article explains how competition came to enjoy such an exalted status in Europe and then challenges conventional wisdom by bringing into focus the downsides of competition. It argues that excessive competition and neoliberal competition regulation have contributed to intensify the economic, political, social and environmental crises currently facing humanity. The implication of the argument is that these crises can only be solved if prevailing notions of competition and its role in society are reconsidered.
Embedded: in Business, Politics and Society, 2013, Vol 3, Issue 1, p. 36-47