The Matthew Principle is one of those odd aspects of the Bible that applies to life by which those who have something end up with more of it while those who don’t have a lot end up with even less. There are many odd applications of this principle, including in inheritance law, where the more evenly that property is divided among heirs the more quickly that wealth is dispersed and lessened. There is also, it should be noted, an application of the Matthew principle that we do not often consider, and that is with regards to the sorts of places that we find to eat, and perhaps more generally, to shop at, or even more generally in terms of genre.
Let us consider the way that when a given genre of something is thriving, there are many choices that one has to choose from. This is true whether one is thinking about big box clothing stores, restaurants, or musical acts. And it is not hard to understand why, because when a given segment or genre is thriving, there is plenty of room for many people or companies or acts to thrive. But when conditions are difficult, no one thrives, and it becomes difficult for anyone in a particular segment to enjoy the sort of success that would allow them to say that they are doing well. This is the reason why just about every rock group that exists tries to mimic whatever sounds are popular in electronic music, for example, or other genres, in order to try to stay relevant in increasingly difficult times.
It so happens that I found an odd illustration of this principle this evening. I had found, online, a Persian restaurant in a decent location that I had never stopped to eat at that was not terribly far away from home, and that was supposed to be open this evening, and I drove over there only to find out that the particular location was closed and they were doing remodeling to turn the restaurant into yet another Thai restaurant, of which there are many in the area. A given area, it seems, can support many dozens of Thai restaurants but very few Persian restaurants, which suggests that people are sufficiently unwilling to try dishes outside of their wheelhouse that only the most popular sorts of food tend to survive. This ought to lead us to ponder what it is that gives us so many of some options and so few of others, and suggests that our tastes are more narrow than we would tend to think.