Monday, December 17, 2007

The Prisoner of Dilemma?

Fig.: Payoff Table for the Mugging Game

To anyone who has been through the Relative Grading system (referred to rather fondly, one would think, as RG), the resonance with Prisoner's Dilemma is unavoidable. Therefore, one becomes a Prisoner of Dilemma and starts mugging.

Of course, an important condition here is that the reward (which I have rather "nicely" depicted in that wad of notes picture) must be something that both the players treasure a lot. If the reward is not so compelling, then people would just give up. Let me refine that. If the players don't see a direct connection between the reward and effort, then they would give up easily.

Of course, the pundits are most probably going to tut-tut this and point out in a shocked whisper, the cavalier manner in which I am generalizing a two player game to multi player situations. I frankly have no idea about the results in the multi player case. But still, I think it touches a chord and I shall leave it!

And this blog was meant as a continuation of the crib about mugging in my previous blog. For all this high falutin stuff, the end result is that reality has not changed one bit. Understanding it, somehow, somehow, makes me feel good, though for what end, I know not.

(PS1: Credit to Anuj Pradhan who talked about this after the Economics Exam)
(PS2: "Prisoner of Dilemma" is such a nice title for a prospective song/poem. Cool! I now have a kickass title, about the poem...)


Sanjay Sai said...

Middle man,
nice post! reminds me of the SWOT analysis we did in FM minor!

Ting-Tong said...

well written da....actually anush and i were discussing the exact same thing an year back....and about how RGing can be modeled game theoretically....maybe u can develop a whole theory on this da... :) get on it...ignobel for the middleman :D

Ramkumar said...

one thing i don't get in your pic is that there are 2 dimensions only, but you have tried to depict 3.. what's the hidden dimension? (the two dimensions being the amount you mug, and amount others mug). I think this shows, as there is symmetry in the figure... :-?

themiddler said...


definitely the asymmetry... no 3rd dimension intended :)

popa said...

nice one man...
i always thought that we all could do well if no one mugs but then if there is one bastard who mugs like a dog everyone is fucked.... so i guess the motivation should be getting a job :P

Czar said...

All I needed to see was the image. :)