The Games People Play – the Tragedy of the Commons and the Prisoner’s Dilemma
Summary: Earlier in the book, we noted that there were two simultaneously evolutionary pressures constantly at work while the human mind was taking its present form: to do what helped the tribe, versus to do what helped one ’ s own fitness and individual status within the tribe. Thus, we evolved to publicly demand intra-tribe “ fairness ” in all things while simultaneously seeking relative personal advantage . These imperatives - and the actions they catalyze - can often be at odds with one another. (However, both were usually consistent with demonizing those outside the tribe). This sort of situation - the logical interactions between individual decision- makers - can be analyzed as moves in a game, and this area of study has thus been named “ game theory ” . Interestingly, the simple rules of these games can - in some cases - lead to really bad emergent results on larger scales even when all participants make logical decisions. This is important to know, because all of our species’ larger -scale aggregate behavior results from individual decisions, and all of our species’ challenges are at larger scales.
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