There is a reason though it works. It is because humans are selfish and greedy. It is easier to find greedy smart people who will sell there own mother's than truly altruistic good people.
Why did America rise do far? Because we let i dependant, selfish, and greedy people free and mostly separate government from them. Since you don't need to rule the land to be the most wealthy, greedy people can just be greedy.
Kings use to be the wealthiest person in the land. if anyone else came close there was a war. America broke that you could be richer than the leaders.