President Obama and the Prisoner's Dilemma

The word about negotiations is that Speaker Boehner has vowed not to negotiate one-on-one with President Obama anymore.  Not after being stiffed twice by the president -- first in the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, and second in the fiscal cliff deal. In this the speaker is merely admitting to a little piece of settled science: the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. The Prisoner's Dilemma is an arcane piece of game theory that takes forever to explain.  But reduced to essentials, it tries to answer the question: should I trust the other guy? If your answer is "more research is needed," go straight to the head of the class. But in the real world we want answers, and fortunately, answers have emerged from a famous experiment in the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma conducted by Robert Axelrod.  He invited people to submit strategies for an iterated game of Prisoner's Dilemma.  The winner submitted a simple strategy, TIT-FOR-TAT, which copied the opponent's every...(Read Full Article)

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