Math in the Media

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Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Wealth spawnscorruption," by Philip Ball. Nature Science Update, 28 January2002.

This article summarizes research into how a large share of a society's wealthcan be concentrated in the hands of one individual. A mathematical modeldeveloped by Zdzislaw Burda and others suggests that a super-rich individual ismore likely to occur in a socialist economy than in a liberal one. The title ofBall's article comes from the conclusion of the model that a super-richindividual will not be present in a society whose wealth is below a certainthreshold. The article by Burda and colleagues, "Wealth condensation in Paretomacroeconomies," appears in Physical Review E, vol 65, 026102 (2002).

---Mike Breen

American Mathematical Society