It's everybody you didn't have to compete with because they couldn't afford the rip-off in the short term.
It is a powerful and widespread psychological effect and it is one of the things that is rapidly corroding our society. It's part of how gatekeeping works, just across the board.
So if someone comes along and suggests removing the suffering from the process, the kneejerk response is negative.
It's that if it happens, it says your sacrifice was not necessary and therefore you suffered for nothing.
It can turn "nice" people as jealous as a dragon guarding a treasure hoard in a flash.