Matthew effect and Leonard Cohen’s Everybody knows

“Matthew effect of cumulate advantage, Matthew principle, or Matthew effect – poor stay poor and the rich get rich. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

The Matthew effect specifies that the strong individuals become even more powerful while those who do not have much status become less. It is more & more vs less & less principle embedded in almost everything we experience in this world. This social phenomenon is linked and quoted as “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer”. For instance, students who can usually afford Ivy League education (elite research universities), come from clearly rich families since the annual tuition fee is around 55,000 EUR (yes !). Based on education, they then develop better skills and connections through their schooling time, family ties, and ever-present acquaintances. The rich get richer! Consequently, they are more likely to gain more than their counterparts who belong to a lower socioeconomic status. The poor get poorer.

The term is based on a Biblical verse, Mathew 25:29, which says, “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away” (Holy Bible). But the whole concept is developed and coined by Robert K. Merton, an American sociologist. In his initial work, Merton describes how, among other things, prominent scientists will often get more acclaim than an unknown researcher, even if their work is less in quality. 

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows