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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

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
  • Does that mean you should always “turn the other cheek” and let unscrupulous people run over you?
there is a problem with this
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
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 games and growth of a just civilization
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
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.