Today, one of my favorite authors, the Canadian painter, Robert Genn, see please: http://clicks.robertgenn.com/ (and explore his admirable The Painters’ Keys website) has written about the Matthew Effect.
Robert’s mini essay starts with:
"The Matthew Effect" in economics was named after the verse in Matthew in the New Testament of the Christian bible: "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." (25:29) A popular way of saying this is, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
and continues suggesting how this powerful effect works in education (I have informed my grandchildren) and in art.
Matthew's Effect is very natural- because those who have money learn how to make money and those who are in deep ‘trouble’ rarely know how to come to the surface. Increasing inequality is
the rule; please consider Taleb’s Extremistan idea too (the “Black Swan” book). We live in a weird, complex, dynamic world full of contradictions
Genn’s writing has reminded me that the Matthew Principle acts in Cold Fusion LENR too. The field is actually a double victim of it.
First, it is an external Matthew Effect; very soon after its start, due to bad circumstances, LENR became known as a poor branch of science, strange and problematic, with bad reputation. A long thread of scientific half-successes was not able to change the situation. Reputation is correlated with funding, funding is necessary for improving reputation- vicious circle- we all know this story too well.
A wicked problem and it seems nothing works, nor wise words of persuasion, neither impressive theories- only a solid breakthrough experiment, perfectly reproducible at a scale of energy of practical interest can bring change, money and fame. The external Matthew effect can be reversed only from inside- learning how to be very rich in energy.
Second, there an internal Matthew Effect too; palladium based LENR gets the dominant share of attention, resources, publications, scientific studies, hopes- is the star of a very recent Cold Fusion Course, etc. while the more modest nickel (and other mundane transition metals) were rather unpopular. Piantelli and his team were solitary long distance runners/workers and had very limited resources, even in a LENRphile country as Italy.
It seems there is some logical symmetry here palladium is almost a cultic metal for the LENR community, and this is barrier to change; change has to come from outside.
In 2011 it seemed that Rossi and his E-cat will trigger a radical change in LENR research strategy. This does not happened from a bunch of reasons- but, I predict it will. The poor metal will become rich and the rich one will remain rich, mainly outside