Wednesday December 28th 2016Tim
Candler9
Around sixty
five years ago it was a mathematician exploring Game
Theory that came up with an idea of an Equilibrium that
gave a mathematical basis for interactions between
competing players, or participants, or people. Here,
knowing the strategies of other players, the game is in
Equilibrium if by changing my own strategy I fail
completely to change the strategy of other players. In
another way, when the game or competition is in
Equilibrium I'm stuck in a set, a rut if you prefer.
Some time in the 1970's Economists adopted the
mathematics, and finally they were able feel less like
flamboyant seers around a Supply and Demand curve in a
Free Market and more like serious type scientists with
something useful to offer. And there's all sorts of ho
ha around the mathematics and the mathematicians engaged
in the theoretical work of the Nash Equilibrium, they
were awarded Nobel Prizes. And naturally enough the
radical wing of Business Studies found solace in the
possibilities of a rut that included the words New and
Improved, or a number that followed a decimal point.
2.00, 2.5, 3.00 and so on.
Past

You can
look at it any way you wish to, but at least 90 percent of a
population may have no idea what the Nash Equilibrium is,
how it works, or what it attempts to describe. Yet a
devotion to the Nash Equilibrium's interpretation, supported
by the purity of mathematics and by the equal signs that can
be proved through numbers, dominate a great many decisions
that emerge from social, political, military and economic
sectors of our society. "It's mathematics and it works"
they'll say. Around Eighty years ago a group of thinkers in
Germany chose to believe that Germany was ripe for the same
sort of Socialist Revolution that had overtaken the Czar's
Russia. They were terribly, terribly wrong and most of them
found sanctuary in the USA where they developed what some
call Critical Theory. If you're wrong, don't claim to be
right by blaming each other, instead try valiantly to
actually find out why you were wrong. Sometime in the 1950's
Critical Theorists had become incredibly unfashionable and
they'd pretty much concluded the ruts in a society are so
deep that so long as the soap powder works there's not much
to be done. Depressing? Depends how reasonable your hopes
are.
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