The accumulation of great wealth is mostly luck according to a mathematical model developed by the University of Minnesota and published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE. Joseph Farigione, leading author of the paper found the results of the research quite surprising.
According to the paper, one in nine Americans are entrepreneurs and by the inexorable effect of chance and chance alone, a small proportion of entrepreneurs come to possess a disportionate portion of the total wealth and once they are ahead with exponentially growing capital, they tend to stay ahead. If this tendency is left unchecked, the total wealth of the nation will eventually be accumulated by a few and the result is a permanent plutocracy.
The cause and the results are comparable to a poker game where if the stakes are everything each player possesses, one player ends up with everything. It’s the luck of the draw, not the skill or greater effort by the winner.
According to Paul Gilding, former director of Greenpeace International and now on the faculty at Cambridge University, and author of the book, The Great Disruption, the earth’s capacity to sustain human use of the earths resources had been exceeded in 1988 and it would now require 1.4 planets to sustain the current use of resources. In other words humanity on earth is now beyond the point of no return and is headed for the Great Disruption and life on earth as we know it will be changed forever. Malthusians concerns are being validated.
What is happening is perfectly logical and understandable. A finite identity, the earth, cannot sustain infinite growth. This is a truism that most educated and reasonable people must understand but it has been ignored as an inconvenient truth that does not fit into the general order of things. The general order of things includes an economic model that depends on growth and an ever greater need for the earths nonrenewable resources. The general order of things does not include preservation of an environment that makes human life possible and sustainable on planet earth.
Gilding is and optimist, and while he paints a stark picture of what is in store for the earth and its inhabitants, he has great faith in our ability to react, innovate and cooperate when forced into a corner and that the day will be saved and a real transformation will take place that will produce a sustainable economy built on equality, quality of life and harmony with the ecosystem.
It is likely that not too far in the future we will find out if Gilding’s optimism is warranted.
Since publishing PushBack my writing output has declined as a result of family priorities and a lack of firm direction. I have been playing with a few ideas and writing some short stories during this lull. One of the short stories, titled The Storm has been published in the Fiction Writers’ Platform and can seen by clicking on the Editor’s Choice Awards.