PART II. A REORIENTATION OF GAME THEORY
4. TOWARD A THEORY OF INTERDEPENDENT DECISION
On the strategy of pure conflict - the zero-sum games - game theory has yielded important insight and advice. But on
the strategy of action where conflict is mixed with mutual dependence - the nonzero-sum games involved in wars and threats
of war, strikes, negotiations, criminal deterrence, class war, race war, price war, and blackmail; maneuvering in a bureaucracy
or in a traffic jam; and the coercion of one's own children traditional game theory has not yielded comparable insight or
advice. These are the "games" in which, though the element of
conflict provides the dramatic interest, mutual dependence is
part of the logical structure and demands some kind of collaboration or mutual accommodation - tacit, if not explicit - even if
only in the avoidance of mutual disaster. These are also games in
which, though secrecy may play a strategic role, there is some
essential need for the signaling of intentions and the meeting of
minds. Finally, they are games in which what one player can
do to avert mutual damage affects what another player will do to avert it, so that it is not always an advantage to possess initiative, knowledge, or freedom of choice.
I hope fans of Schelling will meet up to celebrate his passing together (at a time and place not agreed upon beforehand.)
Racism comes in a huge variety of different hues, but when one population is segregated in the nice neighborhoods and another is segregated around the not-so-nice, I find it difficult to accept that self-satisfaction with the number of similar neighbors is much of a driving factor of anything.
My only goal is to try and get them to see the world as something more complex than the 'agree with everything we say or you're literally Hitler' dichotomy that currently appears to be popular in elements of the modern left.
(Perhaps I find this particularly frustrating, as I am left-leaning myself.)
The concept that reasonable people can disagree is something that I think everyone, regardless of political persuasion, should keep in mind. And part of learning that is seeing how multiple models, even simple toy ones like this example, can explain large-scale behaviors in ways other than one's currently-held belief, whatever that may be.
1. Small personal biases lead to large collective biases
2. Unless people are unhappy and actively willing to move when segregated prior; segregation is the steady state. i.e. White flight exists, but the inverse does not.
A community of people sharing a common language and heritage may just lead to pleasant dinner parties for them, and an eventual cultural blending for the kids and grand-kids.
A community segregated around a common feeling of oppression or discrimination may end up fomenting hatred and violence in response.
The segregation isn't the problem, the reasons are.
My biggest desire is simply to get them to understand that reasonable people can just plain disagree on something, and that that doesn't necessarily make either one 'bad', because the real world is more complex than any one mental model.
I wouldn't even have ever heard the term SJW, or be aware of how modern progressivism is so different from the liberal attitudes of my youth, if I didn't have younger family still in college.
Most of the causes are probably due to ripple effects of historic policies.
Tom wasn't exactly my inspiration to "Think deeply about simple things"; I got that mantra from Arnold Ross. But he was perhaps the best I ever knew at putting that principle into practice.
One of the great ones has left us.
From the conclusion of http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Property/Property.htm...
"The central project of this essay has been to give an account of rights, especially property rights, that is both amoral and alegal—an account that would explain the sort of behavior we associate with rights even in a world lacking law, law enforcement, and feelings of moral obligation. I have tried first to explain how, with no legal system to enforce contracts, it might still be possible to contract out of a Hobbesian state of nature, and then to show how the same analysis can be used to understand in what sense a civil order, such as our own society, is different from a Hobbesian state of nature. Having offered answers to those questions, I then tried to show how we might get from the state of nature to something like the present society, and to use the analysis to partially explain the puzzling similarity between actual rules, just rules, and efficient rules.
If my analysis is correct, civil order is an elaborate Schelling point, maintained by the same forces that maintain simpler Schelling points in a state of nature. Property ownership is alterable by contract because Schelling points are altered by the making of contracts. Legal rules are in large part a superstructure erected upon an underlying structure of self-enforcing rights."
Not a good year for strategists.
Discovering something new is exciting and important. Explaining that discovery in a way usable by the rest of humanity is ground-breaking.
But, try re-reading his article "Hockey Helmets, Daylight Savings, and other Binary Choices".
You will find something new about collective choices.
That seems very short sighted in a couple of ways. First the notion that people suffering from the effects of ecology destruction and the aftermath that ensues just hang around and suffer and keep the suffering contained. Secondly the notion that there's nothing to be gained by combating global warming for the entire world. More people die from the effects of pollution than the combined deaths from homicide, war, car accidents and suicide per year.
India has 300 million people without electricity, and they're doing exactly what the US and other nations did years ago: focus on improving their quality of life, using inexpensive coal and fuels.
Pollution is not the same thing as climate change.
I would have thought that "pollution kills people" was already reason enough.
Or, to look at it from the other side, if a country like China isn't going to reduce its emissions in order to stop killing people right now, why would they bother to do it to reduce some hypothetical effect on climate change over the next century? And if the answer is "well, they say they will", why would we believe them?
Reminds me of the Coursera course on model thinking: https://www.coursera.org/learn/model-thinking
The segregation model was one of the models (which I though eas pretty neat), the course is basically an introduction to a bunch of different models to think about the world. Highly recommended.
His uses of game theory was however at the highest level of strategic thinking.
-- The Von Neumann Min-Max Theorem is a special case of the existence of Nash Equilibria.
-- Proving the original Min-Max Theorem isn't any any easier to do directly than is proving the existence of Nash Equilibria in general.
That said, my dissertation was an extension of the Min-Max Theorem, and I basically didn't think about Nash Equilibria once the whole time I was working on it.
THAT said, my dissertation was an independent proof of the theorem of Mertens and Neymann. Their proof seemed closer to the Fixed-Point Theorem kinds of techniques that Nash used.
Anyhow, I'm pretty sure that Tom himself didn't engage in that kind of mathematics.