A simple model of how trade breaks down

One of the most interesting papers I’ve read this year, and it comes in at the end of December:

Is Inequality Inevitable, Bruce Boghosian et al, Scientific American Nov 2019

(Via a post from Brewster Kahle where he implements the authors’ model as a dice game, The Game of Oligarchy

It shows how a simple model of free trade between equals degenerates into classes of rich and poor, even when the trade is voluntary, the value of the trade to each partner benefits one or the other randomly and the mechanism is iterated for a large number, how this reflects many well-understood processes in nature where phase changes emerge from chaotic interactions between individual elements, and how a simple model of redistribution can (and does, in real societies) fix the problem.

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