Showing posts from July, 2014

Game Theory and Society

Game theory is a branch of mathematics that deals with decision making when there are multiple decision-makers, called “players”, and outcomes depend on the decisions of other players. Game theory is based on the metaphor of a game, in which the rules of play and the outcomes are well defined. The game metaphor is a very useful abstraction. Game theory is used to understand behavioral strategies in economics, evolutionary theory, politics, warfare and other domains. It is especially important for understanding how society works. The Prisoner’s Dilemma The prisoner’s dilemma is an important concept in game theory. It illustrates the benefits and challenges of creating cooperation between selfish individuals. The prisoner’s dilemma is named after a thought experiment in which the police try to get two prisoners to confess and implicate each other in the crime. Unfortunately, that thought experiment is somewhat complicated and can be confusing. Rather than telling the story of the t

Utopian Ideologies

The communists who took power in the Russian revolution did not want the totalitarian, terrorist state that they created. Their idea of communism was a peaceful, cooperative system, in which people would work for the good of society, and society would take care of everyone. They believed that a new, utopian form of society and a new type of human nature would naturally emerge, once elites were overthrown and capitalism abolished. But that didn’t happen. After the initial purge of elites, a small-scale form of capitalism emerged in the countryside. Capitalism emerged, not communism. At first, the communist leaders tolerated it as a transitional condition, expecting communism to break out at any moment. Eventually, they got tired of waiting, and decided to force communism on the peasants. From the Wikipedia article on the Holodomor : The “liquidation of the kulaks as a class” was announced by Joseph Stalin on 27 December 1929.[1] Stalin had said that “Now we have the oppor