SEARCH BLOG: BOOKS
There's a lot going on these days. We are attempting to sell our house again... in a market that is roughly twice as bad as it was the first time we tried in 2006. Still, you decide what you want to do and do what you can to make it happen. That's why I'm finding this book on the game theory approach to social interaction so interesting... it is based on understanding such interactions from the perspective of overriding self interest.
I'm really just getting into it between minor projects. But it is provoking. Take, for example, the notion of national interest. We all have some idea of what that is... from our perspective. Professor Bueno de Mesquita has a different perspective from most:
"What, then, is the national interest? We might have to conclude that except under the direst circumstances there is no such thing as "the national interest," even if the term refers to what a large majority favors. That is surprising, perhaps, but it follows logically from the idea that people will align themselves behind policies that are closer to what they want against policies that are farther from what they advocate. It just happens that any time there are trade-offs between alternative ways to spend money or to exert influence, there are likely to be many different spending or influence combinations that beat the prevailing view. None can be said to be a truer reflection of the national interest than another; that reflection is in the eyes of the beholder, not in some objective assessment of national well-being. so much for the venerable notion that our leaders pursue the national interest, or, for that matter, that business executives single-mindedly foster shareholder value. I suppose, freed as they are to build a coalition that wants whatever it is that they also want, that our leaders really are free to pursue their own interests and to call that the national interest or the corporate interest."I've been accused of being cynical, at times. This trumps my cynicism. But given recent votes in Congress, this may be closer to reality than my perspective.