On Rich becoming Richer and other effects

9 August, 2005 at 15:34 Leave a comment

There is an old saying that the rich become richer and poor become poorer. This is also the 80:20 rule. Or Zipf curve or Pareto or whatever. Basically, it means, the rich people keep getting richer and the poor people keep getting poorer.

I argue that what we see is just one effect which leads onto the other. I say that what we see in this world is only the rich getting richer. People getting poorer is thus purely relative and is a consequence of the former. Anyway, the theory I propose is that the phenomenon of rich getting richer is obvious and is inherent given our sociological constructs. Lemme explain.

Imagine you are a painter. A very bad painter who has no real clue what you paint about. Just like almost all self-proclaimed artists. For most people it is just a dab of random colors. But somehow some idiot art critic (an ‘art crtitic’ would suffice since they are so idiotic that they cannot even splash colors on canvas on their own), thinks you are a genius/fool and brings the sky down hyping you and your art for better or worse. Writing an essay or a review. Of course, any publicity is publicity. Either way, the public is curious and they come swarming in.
You become rich by a couple of score millions because nowadays people are like sheep with no real opinion of their own. Their entire sophistication is based on reading reviews in New Yorker magazine. People even buy art as an investment these days and not to appreciate the passion and nuances (which of course your painting has none). All this holds you in good stead. In short, you become filthy stinking rich.
Well, a painter is just one example. But the same effect can be seen if you happen to write a book about witchcraft (we dont burn them anymore but we should make some exceptions), or croon horrendously to entice people to kill themselves and whatever. You have to believe me because the pop-singers who sing love songs do not know what it is to be in love when they change their lovers like underwear. Still not convinced. How about an idiot who collects the polluted air of Paris in a jar and that is projected as a great piece of art questioning the ephemeral nature of things and the universality of humankind so much so that there is a seminar to understand the depth of it while he is dead for a while now. As if this wasnt cracking enough, his great-grand-daughter is reaping the benefits of preserving that piece of crap and is now hogging the limelight. All she ever did was born to his grand-daughter.

Anyway, come back to making you the painter as a running example. You are now rich and that is because of one art sale. In the future, if you make any sort of painting, or just sign a 6 year old child’s painting by mistake, or steal some from a barnyard where the images formed are pigs humping each other, they are all still gonna make you rich. Because the aforementioned art critics will try to see some deep meaning in your doodles where there arent any. And you cannot help but become more rich and famous no matter what you do.
You sneeze and the Kleenex used will be sold on eBay. You write your dull, boring, insipid, uninspiring story of your life including how you stole money from your mom’s purse for drugs at 10 and that book generates royalty in the millions. The rolling stone just gathers more mass and more mass and more mass. There could however be a whiff of dissent in a naive guy who actually sees through you and says that what you do is crap. The more educated art critics would dismiss this simple guy’s interpretations. And you will say – “art has never been appreciated by the public in its own time” – and get away with it. Life moves on.
So, you see, all it takes is for an idiot to hype up your work and the world will be different since for a lot of people. Talk about chaos, butterfly effect and sensitive dependence on initial conditions. All you have to do is try to find such blokes. Fortunately, there are many out there but it is all about being in the right place at the right time amidst the right people.

Now, for the second effect. Why poor become poorer. First of all, there is a relative effect. If you become richer, your classmates in high-school become poorer. They do not have the 720-inch plasma screen TV as you have, see. But this effect is far-reaching. Let us talk about absolute poverty. That follows from the above quite tightly since when people spend their earnings on buying your junk, then they have hardly anything left to donate towards things that matter like you know, donate to Red Cross or something where they could actually be doing something good and noble (heaven forbid). No wonder that every 1 second, a child somewhere in this world dies of hunger and disease. Now death is an expensive proposition in any culture and so the poor people spend some more on… err… death and taxes. And hence the poor gets poorer.

There is just no way to escape this vicious cycle. We humans are wired that way I suppose. Rich become richer. A harsh reality imposed by sheer brute force sociological behaviour of humans. Hence proved.

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Entry filed under: CWorks, Life-Theories.

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