The Winner-take-all Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us
Why is it that the top one per cent of the population captures such a disproportionate amount of the wealth? Why does the athlete in first place win dozens of lucrative sponsorship deals, yet competitors who finish just moments behind often struggle to attract a single deal? Why does one stereo system become a runaway success, while others of almost the same quality flounder and fail? The answer is the rise of 'winner-take-all' markets, in which small differences in performance lead to huge differences in reward. First published in 1995 and more relevant today than ever before, this fascinating book shows how and why in business, as in sport, thousands are competing for only a handful of top prizes. As the few players at the top reap huge rewards, the vast majority are left to struggle. This pattern has now infiltrated almost every field, from the battle for university places and the shelves of our supermarkets to the huge salaries of top executives compared with those of almost everyone else. But the relentless emphasis on coming out on top has shaped our society and how we define success in troubling ways. The rivalry for society's top rewards has created growing income inequality and an enormous misallocation of talent, as more and more talented people seek the big bucks of lucrative yet non-essential careers while vital professions scramble to attract staff. But as Robert Frank and Philip J Cook reveal, there are measures we can take to create a more equitable and more prosperous future, and in The Winner-Take-All Society they show how.