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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 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: • 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: • think about what “human nature” really is. • “Live with the grain” • and act in accordance with the design.
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.
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.
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
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.
But… • Does that mean you should always “turn the other cheek” and let unscrupulous people run over you?
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.
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.
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.
What is “winning?” • Winning isn’t “beating your opponent.” • Winning is achieved by helping your opponent to win too.
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.”
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.”
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.