Post-Capitalism and Climate Change as Non-Zero-Sum-Game

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The demand to transform current systems seems to be a depressing diagnosis. It takes a holistic package were almost everyone gains by those desired transformations. The problem is, – contrary to the holistic solution -, that attempts are made to solve each problem isolated and the suggested solutions are zero-sum games. It’s a political, social, ecological and economical arrangement that one set of players would gain at the expense of another set.  Because the prospective losers could be a powerful nations, multinational corporations or influential stakeholder, they are not willing to negotiate adequately or refuse it entirely fearing they would be losers. To break this deadlock, a non-zero-sum game has to be started; therefore, the suggested solution is instead to solve each problem by itself (individually) applying the holistic approach with the chance everybody wins.

Previous game theories based on the assumption that one party’s loss was always the adversary gain. John Nash, 1928-2015, he shared the Nobel Prize with two fellow game theory pioneers 1994 (depicted in the hit 2001 Hollywood film “A Beautiful Mind”), developed the Nash Equilibrium where each party gets the best deal possible under the circumstances and is now used to underpin everything from nuclear arms talks to developing contract negotiations tactics (Source: Obituaries, The troubled mathematician who inspired A Beautiful Mind, The Week, June 5, 2015, Volume 15, Issue 722).

Here is an amusing example of the Nash Equilibrium as shown in the movie “A Beautiful Mind”: Five girls meet in the evening in a bar five lads. All ten persons are interested in making an acquaintance, so there are ten persons with the same objective. One of the five girls looks very beautiful and all five young men desire to have a date with her. According to the theory of John Nash, none of those young men will achieve his objective. The beautiful girl would, if at all, select no more than one of them, but probably none, because it feels obliged to her girlfriends who are not cherished by the boys. To preserve her status in the group, the sought-after girl will do anything not to be separated from her group. So no one will achieve his or her goal: the girls who want to make the acquaintance, not, and the young men not because they interfere with each other due to their mutual interests. John Nash calls this  a “non-cooperative equilibrium“: five possible relations, bit five times a failure.

It seems that in this “Nash Equilibrium” are stuck the negotiators at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 being held in Le Bourget near Paris, November 30 to December 11. In case of post-capitalism, the economists (or self-proclaimed one), politicians and well-meaning people hinder and denigrate each other at every given opportunity at low level by discussions about the transformation of the capitalism or about the climate change. In the case of economics, the conclusion is that the originators of the well-known schools of economic suffered less of a tunnel vision that some of their followers today: they caught in the Nash Equilibrium! (Source: Josef Taus, Oliver Tanzer, Umverteilung Neu, Ideen für die Zukunft von Wirtschaft und Finanzsystem, 10. Kapitel, Chancen der Synthese, Plädoyer für eine neue Sicht der Ökonomie).

Although the Nash Equilibrium appears mathematically and abstract, it should be applied in conjunction with synthesis. Maybe a reader of this Post has an idea how this “non-cooperative equilibrium” could be bypassed whether in the negotiations in Paris or to create an adequate system for the Post-Capitalism?



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