Competition can drive improvement to the degree that a combination of genetics and environment allows, if tomorrow a plague killed all men who are above 160cm height, you are still gonna have basketball, and the scene may be more competent as the teams competing could be more even, yet, you can't possibly say that it was a higher quality scene than the one pre-plague.
To assert that the 2023 scene is the absolute peak of counter-strike depth in quality is just contemporary narcissitic delusion from players/viewers who have not been around for very long or are simply not very cerebral, and im not saying this is your case at all, this is what i can observe from most people making those types of comments.
In terms of quantity and competitiveness, i would say that CSGO is at its peak today, since the scene is more even and there are many more teams with some resemblance of basic infrastructure covered (well organized travel, vacations, high or at least decent salaries by their countries standards, etc) , however, in terms of QUALITY, we are absolutely inferior to the peak of sheer quality from 2018-2020, unarguably, and also inferior to the quality of 2014-2016, arguably.
One has to wonder, where would csgo be if it was not getting artificially inflated by venture capital and social media zoomer pandering? because if you start taking the some of the money away and you were left with the same players, teams and playstyles, you'd start to clearly see that the game is a fucking shithole, this is an aesthetically uglier scene (gameplay wise in every regard), with "superstars" that play aesthetically uglier cs all being done on seriously questionable foundations.