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The Implications of 'Winner Takes All': An Examination

The Implications of 'Winner Takes All': An Examination

Understanding the concept of “winner takes all” in the realms of both nature and human societies requires no formal study of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “Antifragile.” This principle operates as an inherent, albeit intricately linked, facet of both the natural world and human civilization.

An illustrative example within human contexts is the fact that 99% of Amazon sales stem from just 1% of authors, while alpha male dominance prevails in various animal species. Prior to the articulation of Taleb’s ideas and Pareto’s 80/20 principle, the notion of vortex-like dynamics existing within living systems was instinctively recognized. It was apparent that thriving restaurants attracted more patrons, while those struggling to surpass a certain threshold witnessed dwindling customers and eventual failure. Although contemporary political correctness may not align with the outcomes of this principle, it does not alter the fundamental nature of the principle itself. Evidently, the “winner takes all” law persists as universally and enduringly as the force of gravity.

While evading this principle is impossible, its consequences can be mitigated. How? Certainly not by imposing a top-down construction of egalitarian societies. The dire consequences of attempts at equalization, as exemplified by Communism, are self-evident. Instead of combating gravity, we harness it as an opportunity to leap, run, and engage in activities that would be inconceivable without its presence. However, we also recognize that gravity remains beneficial only up to a certain point. How, then, can we curtail the extremes of “winner takes all” while still adhering to the laws of nature, a question that has perplexed progressivists over the last century?

The solution is surprisingly straightforward, rooted in intuitive understanding, with a slight nod to Taleb, although he does not directly address this specific predicament or resolution.

The answer lies in scale. Small entities will continue to yield “winner takes all” outcomes, as Pareto’s law holds true for both diminutive and larger entities. However, the chasm between the supreme victor and the most beleaguered loser is narrower in smaller entities than in larger ones. It requires no genius to appreciate that the scale of “the all” is larger for substantial units compared to smaller units, while both operate within the natural parameters of the “winner takes all” principle.

The implications for society are conspicuously apparent. Smaller economies, linguistic communities, cultures, and other analogous entities will exhibit diminished disparities between winners and losers. Animal packs with alpha leaders typically consist of fewer members. Should zebras, for instance, globalize and form a single expansive zebra collective, only a handful of zebras would monopolize sexual reproduction, leaving the remaining males to face oblivion. The precarious nature of such a globalized scenario becomes evident; their existence would prove fragile and susceptible to extinction, even from minor unexpected events. Smaller herds allow for zebras to endure substantial fluctuations and unanticipated catastrophes.

The assertion is clear: progressive advocates of equalization and income parity who simultaneously promote global multiculturalism inadvertently perpetuate a situation conducive to even greater disparities in wealth and other spheres. Hence, those who adhere to a “homonist” perspective must oppose agreements like CETA and CEFTA, as well as all forms of global institutions. The path of small-scale communities, languages, and economic regions collaborating without amalgamation under a centralized authority offers the highest degree of antifragility, resilience, and the least inequality.

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