What Competition Does

“At every quarterly examination a gold medal was given to the best writer.
When the first medal was offered, it produced rather a general contention than an emulation and diffused a spirit of envy, jealousy, and discord through the whole school; boys who were bosom friends before became fierce contentious rivals, and when the prize was ad­judged became implacable enemies.

Those who were advanced decried the weaker performances; each wished his opponent’s abilities less than his own, and they used all their little arts to misrepresent and abuse each other’s performances.”

— Robert Coram, Political Inquiries (1791)