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I suspect that super-competition exists in many areas far more than needs to happen, caused by people's tendency to over-value sank cost to enormous proportions.

This includes everything from competing for professorship. Ivy League spots. Big-4 accounting jobs.

In fact, I will go further and say that, many things that comes with "prestige" and "status", has some elements super-competition when viewed from a more rational point of view that ignores "prestige". It happens far more than people realize.

Cause 4: Increased Demand for Illusion of Safety and Security

Re-reading after some life experiences, I see how true it is that, at its core, people just want to appear good and avoid blame at absolutely all cost.

People don't want to make smart purchase decisions, they just want to avoid all possible blame for making bad purchase decisions.

People don't want to the right things at work, they just want to avoid all possible blame for doing wrong things at work.

People don't want to raise their children to be outstanding success, they just want to avoid all possible blame for raising their children to be failure. The distinction may look subtle, but materialize in real life as pressure for parents to force their children into soul-sucking slavery work just so that the parent can avoid possibility of criticism from society.

The biggest problem with The Fear is that it leads one to look for the actions that tell a story that you are doing the thing that means that when you lose/fail it won't be your fault, as opposed to the thing that actually makes you win/succeed.

Totally explains my observations. Giving up chances of the success, just to remove feelings of responsibility at prospect of failure. The thing is, many people would still make the trade if you present it as such.

Often people who are counting on you, usually family members, will effectively let you know that while they care a non-zero amount about whether your life experience is miserable, or what impact your work has on the world, or what upside or opportunities for personal growth you might have, what they actually care about is whether you are projecting the illusion of security. They want to mentally cache that you/they ‘are going to be OK’ and that ‘everything is all right.’ 

When I first read this 6 months ago, I thought, "I guess, some people's family members could be cold like that".

Then I mentioned quitting my job at mega-tech company to my parents. What I heard was actually "we care absolutely zero amount that you're actually okay, what we want is to feel you're okay, how dare you take that away from us".

One thought I had is many of these causes directly follow from the meme that "Cthulhu Always Swims Left".

It's well known that size of government only grows bigger. As you explained above, it's not surprising that large corporations grows at the same time.

Your "Cause 8" was particularly provoking. I moved from another country to work where I am now. And my observations match almost perfectly with what you wrote. It is an absolutely sad state of affairs; where so much of a person's identity and well-being is embedded in this organization with sole purpose of profit making; and where so much of a person's interactions are with people who's only relationship with you is that you're both working for the same entity to make profits.

Not sure if you purposely want to avoid potentially fraught discussion with politics, but much of above reminds me of general criticisms towards modern day leftism.

(First comment, might as well say thank you for writing the maze series. Certainly got me to think.)