Competition is, in general, a contest or rivalry between two or more entities, organisms, animals, individuals, economic groups or social groups, etc., for territory, a niche, for scarce resources, goods, for mates, for prestige, recognition, for awards, for group or social status, or for leadership and profit. It arises whenever at least two parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared, where one's gain is the other's loss (an example of which is a zero-sum game).
Competition is often considered to be the opposite of cooperation, however in the real world, mixtures of cooperation and competition are the norm. Optimal strategies to achieve goals are studied in the branch of mathematics known as game theory.
Competition is also present between species ("interspecific"). When resources are limited, several species may depend on these resources. Thus, each of the species competes with the others to gain access to the resources. As a result, species less suited to compete for the resources may die out unless they adapt by character dislocation, for instance. According to evolutionary theory, this competition within and between species for resources plays a significant role in natural selection. At shorter time scales, competition is also one of the most important factors controlling diversity in ecological communities, but at larger scales expansion and contraction of ecological space is a much more larger factor than competition. This is illustrated by living plant communities where asymmetric competition and competitive dominance frequently occur. Multiple examples of symmetric and asymmetric competition also exist for animals.
Competition between countries is quite subtle to detect, but is quite evident in the world economy. Countries compete to provide the best possible business environment for multinational corporations. Such competition is evident by the policies undertaken by these countries to educate the future workforce. For example, East Asian economies such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea tend to emphasize education by allocating a large portion of the budget to this sector, and by implementing programmes such as gifted education.