During this year’s election season, President-elect Donald Trump would often complain that the system was rigged. He was referring, of course, to the political system and the media bias. It obviously wasn’t rigged against him too much, as he ended up winning anyway. However, our socio-economic system is, in some ways, rigged against those who have little and in favor of those who already have a lot. The little guy never seems to advance very far, while the rich and powerful are always acquiring more wealth and power. I will present two examples.
The first is the way book and product deals are made. Some celebrity or other powerful person doesn’t have to be a good writer to land a lucrative book deal. All they have to do is pay someone else to write one for them and put their name on it, and publishers will be knocking each other over to publish it, whether or not it’s any good. Books from celebrities often hit the New York Times bestseller list almost as soon as they are released. The same goes for product deals. All a celebrity has to do is put his or her name on, for instance, a bottle of perfume and hordes of ready-made customers will be waiting to buy it, even if it makes one stink. Now look at the contrasting situation of a little guy who is a great writer or has come up with a wonderful product that everyone should have. About the only way he could get his book published would be to self-publish, which doesn’t get it into many stores. And in the case of the product, he would have great difficulty getting it distributed into the marketplace.
The second is Twitter. It once suspended my account for following too many people at one time. The rationale for limiting how many people you can follow at a time is that too much following strains its resources. Okay, but there is no limit on how many followers any individual can pick up at a time. Why doesn’t that strain their resources? As it is, some celebrity can have hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers within hours of joining Twitter – without following anyone. On the other hand, it takes someone like me years to get as little as 5,000 followers, and we have to follow other people to get them to follow us. Instead of placing limits on how many people one can follow, Twitter could be more even-handed by instead placing limits on how many people can follow a given individual. But Twitter won’t do that because it’s part of a rigged system.