The O-ring theory of economic development is a model of economic development put forward by Michael Kremer in 1993.
The name comes from the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster, a catastrophe caused by the failure of a single O-ring.
Basically the theory says you are only as strong as your weakest link. Imagine pulling a metal chain from each end. Depending on how strong the links in the chain are, the force needed to break the chain could be large or small. If your steel chain has one plastic link, it will break easily like a plastic chain.
Kremer thinks that the O-ring development theory explains why rich countries produce more complicated products, have larger firms and much higher worker productivity than poor countries.
I’d say it explains why a club like Arsenal won’t be able to win the title any time soon. Arsene Wenger is not a modern football coach. His teams are usually unprepared and for more than a decade now, aren’t able to sustain a serious title challenge. On top of that, each one of his teams, since 2003/04, have had one glaring soft link.
From Igors Stepanovs through Philippe Senderos and Denlison to a player like Gabriel at right back or Aaron Ramsey as a holding midfielder. Arsenal might have wonderful talents like Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Özil, and some defensive qualities in Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi, but they also have some sub-standard players in key positions. Cracked O-Rings.
When top players left Wenger, they said they wanted the team to strengthen. They knew what they were talking about. A lot of time has passed since Arsenal were a chain of powerful athletes – most of them bearing the physique of a middleweight boxer. Today Arsenal is a nice team with nice players and some really weak links.
You can’t win a league title like that. You have empirical evidence for that.
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