March 13, 2012, 9:01 am
Gary Cooper in his most famous role, as Mitt Romney ...
Game theory is a branch of mathematics that I both love and hate: I hate it for the license it has provided for a certain breed of Strangelovian “strategic analysts” to shed their humanity in deference to an extended, bloodless exercise in mental masturbation whose presuppositions are frequently far removed from reality and which all too often serve to justify a pre-existing pro-military ideology, and I love it for the opportunity it provides to clarify one’s thinking via a seductive array of logical constructs … that are often reassuringly far removed from reality!
It’s seductive, often wrong, but great fun – enough so that I once wrote a book about it: The Survival Game, how game theory explains the biology of competition and…
July 4, 2011, 4:52 pm
Elephant in "musth"
“Don’t get into a pissing contest,” we are advised, “with a skunk.” Duly noted. But what about a game of chicken with a rogue GOP elephant?
Such zoological metaphors come to mind when contemplating the current competitive stand-off in Congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling. We’re witnessing—whatever else it may be—an almost textbook case of presumably intelligent people playing a truly stupid game: chicken. Students of game theory identify two different kinds of two-actor “games” that are particularly worthy of their attention, Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) and Games of Chicken (GC’s). Of these, PD is the more intriguing and intellectually frustrating, since it leads to a situation in which each player, following a rational, selfishly maximizing strategy, is…