Who contributes least (to a change that affects all) is he who benefits most from it

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

There are numerous examples confirming this rule. TRIZ community is among them. Those who contributed most to TRIZ benefited nothing (or almost nothing) from it. Those who contributed nothing (or even spoiled it) benefited most. But this article is not about that. It is to show that the rule has a very wide area of applicability and helps explain many world phenomena that we observe today.

But first, as it is customary for research papers, the previous art has to be presented. The closest previous art that I could find is a quotation from "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli:

"The innovator has for enemies all those who derived advantages from the old order of things, whilst those who expect to be benefited by the new institutions will be but lukewarm defenders."

Machiavelli thought too good of people. In fact, there will be no defenders, neither lukewarm not otherwise. Those who are at the highest disadvantage under the current order of things will be the first traitors of the innovator. They will be striving to relieve their burden and gain something by selling whatever info they may have about him to those who are in power.

But let's evaluate the quotation not from the standpoint of its validity but from the standpoint of its proximity to the proposed rule. Although it does not say that those who contribute most (i.e. innovators in Machiavelli's terms) will benefit least from the change they try to advance, it nevertheless says that those who contribute least (i.e. lukewarm defenders of innovators in Machiavelli's terms) are expected to be benefited (presumably most) by the new institutions.

The proposed rule both better reflects the reality than the Machiavelli's observation, is stronger than it, and devoid of its restrictive terminology of innovators and their defenders. It allows its application to a much broader class of phenomena. For example, to the dynamics of European vs Asian/African population.

As is known, population level is determined by fertility rate and mortality rate. The latter depends on the abundance of food and advances in medicine. The food until just a few hundreds years ago was naturally more abundant in Asia and Africa than in Europe. That is why population of Europe until just a few hundreds years ago was small and population of Asia and Africa was big. Then Europeans advanced agriculture and medicine and food became more abundant in Europe. Mortality rate due to hunger and famine dropped and European population exceeded the population of Asian countries which used to menace it.

For instance, population of Turkey (the main threat to Europe for centuries) was about 30 millions in 1700 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_Ottoman_Empire) and population of France (the most populous European country at the time) was 21 million (http://www.tacitus.nu/historical-atlas/population/westeurope.htm). The population of Russia was 13 million (http://allrussias.com/tsarist_russia/table_2.asp). The population of Germany was 15 million (http://www.tacitus.nu/historical-atlas/population/germany.htm). And the population of Great Britain in 1700 was 6 million (http://www.tacitus.nu/historical-atlas/population/british.htm). But by 1900 population of Turkey diminished to 21 millions despite its fertility rate remained the same as in medieval times, whereas population of France grew up to 40 millions, population of United Kingdom grew up to 38 millions, and population of Russia grew up to 170 millions, despite falling fertility rates.

Then European/American advances in agriculture and medicine penetrated Asia and Africa and population dynamics changed again. For instance, Turkish population now stands at 80 millions whereas population of France is 64 million and population of Great Britain is 82 million, and population of Russia is 150 million. (Turkey is chosen just as an example because statistics is known for it. This article is not aimed against her. The same dynamics holds for all Asian/African countries vs European ones.) Thus, from the population growth prospective the Asian/African countries benefited most from the recent advances in agriculture and medicine despite contributed least to it. The most contribution was done in Europe/America.

The rule explains the root cause of many other problems the contemporary world faces. It can be even applied to the evil contributions, where benefits are with the sign of minus and equal to suffering. Indeed, those who contribute most to the evil deeds suffer least from them. Most suffering is usually fall on the innocent ones that contributed least to the evil. But it is a banal observation.