( John Nash died on May 23, 2015 in an automobile accident. He was a mathematician who won the Nobel Prize for his Nash equilibrium. While, initially, one may think that such a theory has nothing to do with resolving disputes, to the contrary, it has everything to do with negotiation and mediation. I first posted this blog in March 2009 and share it again in memory and in honor of Mr. Nash. I hope you enjoy it! )
When I started mediating cases, I never thought that I would have to be aware of or learn advanced mathematics. But a book that I recently finished has shown me otherwise. Entitled, Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life, its author, Len Fisher, PhD. (Basic Books (2008)) explains how game theory applies to everyday life. In turn, game theory is predicated on the Nash equilibrium, named after John Nash who won a Nobel Prize in 1994 for discovering that all social dilemmas arise from the same basic logical trap (Id. at 7.) Using his mathematical genius, Nash “. . . was the first to identify the logical trap (now known as the “Nash equilibrium”) and then to prove a startling proposition – that there is at least one Nash equilibrium lying in wait to trap us in every situation of competition or conflict in which the parties are unwilling or unable to communicate.” (Id. at 18.) (Emphasis original.)
What is the “Nash equilibrium”?:
“It is a position in which both sides have selected a strategy and neither side can then independently change its strategy without ending up in a less desirable position. . . .” “Nash called such a state of affairs an equilibrium because it is a point of balance in a social situation, from which neither side can independently escape without loss. . . . So long as we act independently, with each of us pursuing our own interests, the Nash equilibrium will continue to trap us in a plethora of social dilemmas.” (Id. at 18.)
A perfect example given by the author is an acrimonious divorce:
“It would usually pay ------------------------------------- If you would like to receive this blog automatically by e mail each week, please click on one of the following plugins/services:
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