“Capital is that part of wealth which is devoted to obtaining further wealth"- Alfred Marshall
Continuing from my previous post, where we saw that the same wealth distribution patterns across time and across cultures, you'd wonder what causes this. Is it a result of how we as people are, how we interact and how are economic systems function? Can we create a mathematical model that is based on human behavior as it relates to money and would it give us the same distribution?
People engaging with each other and exchanging something of value is very similar to particles bumping into each other and exchanging energy - a basic thermodynamic system that has been studied in a good amount of detail by physicists. You could run a simulation with a large number of people who all start of with the same amount of money. Then they engage with each other at random, exchanging a random amount of their money at each interaction. At the end of a number of iterations, the wealth distribution will be similar to distribution above - with the poorest 10% having 2% of the wealth and the richest 10% having 24% of the wealth. This is roughly what you'd see if you spread everyone evenly between the poorest and the richest person, that is without a huge amount of inequality.
Remarkably, a basic wealth maximization condition makes this system quite similar to the real world. Now that we have a sandbox that works quite like the real world, we can ask some questions, introduce certain changes and see what the results are.
Is the world really a zero sum game?
Can the poor actually carry out their wealth maximization objective?
Would forcibly removing the wealth maximization objective lead to prosperity?