Thursday, July 28, 2011

US - Politics and Game theory. It doesn't get any simpler than this.

For anyone who has any doubts about the merits of considering politics in terms of game theory should look at the debt ceiling negotiations. If one or the other political side backs down on their demands, the opposite side gets a considerable "win". If neither side backs down in time, everybody loses.

Classic Game of chicken.

The most important thing to consider is why people play this silly game when the livelihoods of millions of people are at stake? The first question is why do people play chicken when their own life is at stake?

Obviously the perceived political rewards are so huge in having the opposition back down in humiliation.

My hope is that if one side or the other backs down, that they get rewarded at the ballot box rather than punished - Hopefully changing the political perceptions for next time. I don't hold out much hope.


Dr Clam said...

Downgrade's a-coming.

Problem is, if you keep electing people to do something, and they keep not doing it, eventually you give up on democracy and start contributing to Dr Clam's campaign, Giant Robots with Laser Eyes for a Better TomorrowTM.

Dr Clam said...

*begins trolling for comments*

Did your kids not see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"?

*trolling for comments ends*

Marco said...

Yes. Actually. I even saw most of it, but as usual failed to see the political undertone that you tend to expertly read and analyse.

Please explain to me what the movie was really about!

Marco said...

Oh. And I disagree with the premise of your first comment.

Exasperated, cynical voters still vote along partisan lines, in general, and the parties will continue to successfully "herd" voters. As much as voters believe they are setting the parameters by extracting promises and making the politicians accountable to those promises, it is just a sideshow to what is happening.

When a combination of promises means that they can't all be kept, either the government is functionally insolvent, or they get to pick and choose which promises they break. The earlier they can manage to break these promises on the back of theoretical looming insolvency, the better for everyone concerned. Democracy is just a process of discovering why a combination of demands may be self contradictory. The only option is to change horses, not to change the contract between the populace and government.

Dr Clam said...

The only option is to change horses, not to change the contract between the populace and government.

This metaphor (shaken, not stirred)is a concise statement of the problem the rebel colonists have encountered. I assert that the politicians are the sideshow, because they are only offering to swap one clapped-out nag for another, while it is the contract that needs to be changed: there are too many clauses written in crayon, and it promises to deliver too many things that do not actually exist.

The difference between their system and ours is that exasperated cynical voters are not compelled to vote, and withdraw from the process, leaving the ground to the most partisan and shrill and imperilling the legitimacy of the whole system. So I guess, hmm, I agree with you... the shrill partisan rump that remains will not vote against their party, even if it backs down.

Dr Clam said...

Please explain to me what the movie was really about!

"Government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to crush your house with a giant doughnut."