Capitalism and the Big Bang

I finally read that Why the Super Rich are Inevitable piece that’s been going around. It reminds me a lot of something I’ve thought about for years:

The economy is like the early universe shortly after the Big Bang. You might think of matter as being uniformly distributed, but in reality small, random perturbations meant that some regions of space ended up with more matter than others. Over billions of years, the effect of gravity is that some places will have collected all the matter from surrounding areas.

Map of Cosmic Microwave Background radiation

The detailed, all-sky picture of the infant universe created from nine years of WMAP data. The image reveals 13.77 billion year old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. The signal from our galaxy was subtracted using the multi-frequency data. This image shows a temperature range of ± 200 microKelvin.

NASA / WMAP Science Team

The natural result of the Big Bang is that a relatively few areas of space will be extremely densely filled with matter (e.g., stars), while most of the universe will be almost entirely empty (e.g., intergalactic space).

As the yard sale model demonstrates, wealth distribution in a market economy is similar, with the rich getting richer by drawing capital from the less wealthy people around them until there are just a handful of oligarchs and a lot of poor people.