Some talented people are rewarded immediately, others late in life, still others after death, and many whose deeds merit it may never be recognized at all. Chance is a factor, as well as corruption. The greatest inequality is the denial of recognition because of nationality, race, beliefs, sex, youth, age or physical handicap.
Among astronomical, biological, psychological and other scientific discoverers, women have been insufficiently recognized, a recent example having occurred when despite contributions by both sexes, only men received recognition in DNA research. Americans, to take another instance, dominate world media and entertainment; their actors and actresses are glorified, sometimes well beyond their merits, but there is no Oscar for an Egyptian, Indian, African, or Latin-American local performer, for example. Many national systems of honours, such as in the UK, neglect singular voluntary work, while political bureaucrats and money-makers receive OBEs and MBEs. In the arts, commercialism prevails, and intrinsic merit is overlooked in favour of what sells. Writers of outstanding quality are suppressed or censored by political regimes and religious orders. Recognition, when it comes, comes too late to support those who have been isolated and obscure.
Only about one-tenth of the Nobel Prizes awarded since 1980 have gone to people from the South, with 86 percent of the winners being from the industrialized countries of North America, Europe and Japan. More than nine out of ten have been men.