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another sum exlusive

Issue 3 - September 2000

why the rich stay richer

why the rich stay richer FRENCH scientists claim to have discovered a law of numbers that explains why real wealth falls into the hands of just a lucky few.

Jean-Philippe Bouchaud and Marc Mezard believe movement of money to the minority is down to maths and the physics of materials.

The pair hope that their new findings could help to reduce the financial gulf between the rich and poor in many societies.

In America, Britain and most Western economies, 20 per cent own 80 per cent of the wealth and this statistic was true in the 19th century, when it was described by Paris-born engineer Vilfredo Pareto.

Pareto's Law staggered economists when it brazenly declared that the filthy rich few will always hog most of the money.

The Law is based on loose concepts such as inherent distribution of people's abilities and other hard-to-prove ideas.

But Bouchaud and Mezard used their backgrounds as condensed matter physicists and found an amazing connection with economics to help prove what they instinctively knew was true.

They saw a study into soilds and fluids and how their atoms are ordered and drew the remarkable conclusion, after much investigation, that there were links to economic theory.

Unfortunately, the study has not yet boiled down to an exact single equation, but Bouchaud and Mezard are able to answer lots of the questions about wealth distribution they set out to by simply dusting off their old physics text books.

The New Scientist Magazine


current issue header

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Ancient Maths Mystery

Why The Rich Stay Rich

Brit Girls Lead Maths

Einstein Scandal

Maths And Football

Maths Crossword And Cartoons

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