The field of system dynamics identifies several archetypes: common patterns that drive behavior in many situations. One of the most salient archetypes of our current period is called “success to the successful,” which fairly well describes twenty-first-century capitalism or the late stages of the board game Monopoly. It looks like this:
In this diagram, as A succeeds, A receives more resources from a (presumed) finite pool of resources 1, so B therefore receives less. As resources available to A increase, A’s likelihood of success 2 also increases, and as A’s success increases, A receives even more allocation of resources. Meanwhile, as resources allocated to B decrease (which happens because resources allocated to the leader A increase), B’s overall resources (relative to A) decrease, B’s likelihood of success tends to decrease, and as B’s likelihood of success decreases, resources allocated to B (relative to A) also tend to decline further.
The diagram above shows just two entities, and a good two-entity example is to think of the final two players in a poker tournament: eventually, after some variable number of hands, one player will be left with nothing, and one player will have all the chips and win the tournament.