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The Good News about The Bad News Gospel The BAD News Gospel: Humans are “fallen”, “depraved” and incapable of doing the right thing “Human Nature” is intrinsically evil. I am not responsible God is to blame, not I The Good News: It’s more complicated than that:

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The good news about the bad news gospel l.jpg
The Good NewsaboutThe Bad News Gospel


The bad news gospel l.jpg

The BAD News Gospel:

Humans are “fallen”, “depraved” and incapable of doing the right thing

“Human Nature” is intrinsically evil.

I am not responsible

God is to blame, not I


The good news l.jpg
The Good News:

  • It’s more complicated than that:

  • You are responsible—which means you can change things.

  • The good news is that – despite short-term incentives to cheat – it is our human nature that allows us to reason and to make better choices for the long-term.


If all you are getting is the bad news l.jpg
If all you are getting is the Bad News:

  • think about what “human nature” really is.

  • “Live with the grain”

  • and act in accordance with the design.


What is human nature l.jpg
What is “Human Nature”?

  • Humans have the ability to grasp—and act upon—abstract concepts.

  • Humans have the ability to envision the future.

  • Humans have the ability to understand that other humans are their equals.

  • Humans have the ability to build a world that works better for all of us.


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All People are Created Equal

  • If you have the right to do something to somebody else,

  • They have the same right to do the same thing to you.

  • Any “rights” that can’t be universalized are not “rights”

  • Your “rights” to swing your arm end at the other person’s nose.




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The Pragmatic Partnership Ethic:

  • Whether or not you think of this as an “ethical issue”

  • The fundamental question is:

  • Is this a one-time opportunity to grab and run—Or is this a long-term relationship?

  • Future benefits outweigh short term gains from cheating.

  • Examples of the cooperative stance in games :

    • The quality premium in marketing

    • “TQM”

    • “Supply Chain Management”

  • There is never a “last round”

  • Even if this is your last contact with this partner, Your approach will earn you a long-term reputation that will carry over to business with others.

  • The “Radar O’Reilly” Phenomenon.

  • Your spouse and your children


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None of this is new

  • This Pragmatic Partnership Ethic can be described as enlightened self-interest.

  • Rational Selfishness is a virtue

  • The Pragmatic Partnership Ethic has a common name.


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But…

  • Does that mean you should always “turn the other cheek” and let unscrupulous people run over you?


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There is a problem with this…

  • 1.There are jerks everywhere (about 5%).

  • 2.Jerks change the game from win-win to lose-lose.

  • 3. If you don’t protect yourself, you will get hurt and jerks will be empowered to hurt others.

  • 4. But if you treat everyone as jerks, it will wreck the game and everyone will lose.


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The Evolution of Cooperation (Robert Axelrod, 1985)

  • Simulation tournament of strategies for the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma (IPD).

  • The simplest strategy, Tit-for-tat (TFT) was most consistently the winner.

  • Tit-for-tat: start with cooperation, then echo the opponent’s move on the last round.

  • Properties:

    • Nice, never the first to defect;

    • Provocable, immediately, on one defection;

    • Forgiving, can return to cooperation after defection.

    • Simple and Transparent, the opponent knows what will happen.


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Tit-for-tat

  • TFT wins but not by defeating opponents, but by doing better with other TFT players.

  • By definition, TFT can, at best, have a tie score in a series with a single opponent.

  • No opponent is ever “defeated.”

  • But TFT accumulates higher total scores by finding and cooperating with cooperative players, while avoiding being taken advantage of by the defectors.

  • TFT demands only equity, doing well by promoting mutual interest rather than exploiting weakness.


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What is “winning?”

  • Winning isn’t “beating your opponent.”

  • Winning is achieved by helping your opponent to win too.


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Evolutionary gamesand growth of a “just” civilization

  • Successful strategies prosper and grow

  • Less successful strategies diminish

  • A consistent defection (“meanies”) culture can only be stable if “nice” players are isolated from each other.

  • A “nice” culture is stable and can resist invasion by “meanies” only if the TFT rule is followed:

    “avoid exploitation: Be provocable by the first defection of the other player.”

  • TFT also helps others by making it harder for exploitative strategies to survive.

  • Axelrod’s Conclusion:

    “Reciprocity is a better foundation for morality than is unconditional cooperation.”


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Justice protects the weak and maintains civilization

It is not moral to tolerate the bully.

  • “If you do not visit bad neighborhoods,

    • then bad neighborhoods will visit you.”


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The Tit-for-Tat Rule in Games(Simulation studies indicate Tit-for-tat strategy gives the best expected results when dealing with the 5% who are jerks)

1. Treat everyone as if they belong to the other 95% (suffer occasional vulnerability as a price for pursuing the best long-run average result).

2. If someone acts like a jerk, thump them.

3. If they continue to be jerks, thump them harder.

Accept conversions, but,

4. Don't let a few jerks wreck the game for everyone else.

5. Arrange future endeavors to exclude jerks.


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