Author: Anatol Rapoport
Link: https: //books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=dOttCQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=conflict+resolution+game+theory&ots=rE7GlmcoiI&sig=9BVgsbBppvn96zKbUHBWrE3BuMk#v=onepage&q=conflict%20resolution%20game%20theory&f=falseIn the introduction of Game Theory as a Theory of Conflict Resolution, Rapoport begins by explaining how game theory is structured. Game theory, originally created by John Von Neumann, includes 1. Players, or decision makers; 2. A list of strategies; 3. Outcomes resulting from each strategy; and 4. The payoffs from the outcomes. Each player is assumed to be a rational player, with the goal to achieve their preferred payoffs. Interests may be opposed but there may be conflicts of interests, so players will utilize their skills and choose their best strategies, at least guaranteeing a minimal payoff or gaining an advantage.
Rapoport compares this constant-sum game to the game of Chess or Go, which in a way, are conflict models. The result of the game is an equilibrium, where the payoffs remain interchangeable to each player, but one player achieves his optimal strategy, and the other has to alter his optimal strategy. For the best results and equilibrium to remain, prescribing strategies to each rational player will allow both players to do as well as they possibly can in that game. Prescribing strategies work best when only two players are involved in order for the game to preserve its salience, although, there are solutions for games with N (more than two) players. Coalitions are formed if three or more players are involved. Typically the two stronger ones will link up against the weaker player or two weaker ones will link up against the stronger player. As the paper goes on, Rapoport broadens the player range to four or five players, which diverts away from an equal outcome.
Game theory is considered a descriptive, or predictive research tool in behavioral science. The theory has dissatisfied many while appealed to others. Those who were disappointed have used the game-theoretic analysis to create methods in conflict situations including, war; war planning; power politics; and business competition. Combining formal game theory to competitive expertise, caused an ineffective outcome. Rapoport raises the point that the usual explanation of this failure is that the “’effect that the real world is too complex to be stimulated by formal game-theoretic models,” misses the main point: even if real conflicts were no more complex than theoretically tractable formal games, game theory would be powerless to prescribe ‘optimal strategies’ in any but total bi-polar conflicts...”
Burn’s and Meeker’s paper regarding the mathematical symbolism of game theory, ultimately concludes that payoffs in any game, more specifically Prisoner’s Dilemma, does not represent the player’s utilities, which Rapoport agrees with. In any situation, real-world or theoretic, the overt payoffs do not always influence the decisions.
I agree with Rapoport when he explains that game theory loses its distinction and strays away from equality if there are more than two players. Payoffs become more difficult to achieve and some strategies become ineffective, so they must be reformed. The course of action is bound to change and is not always as obviously perceived when prescribed the course of action in the beginning. I believe this is a great explanation on why we do not see game theory as successful as it can be in real-world situations. The misconception over the controversy has been proven wrong when used correctly. It has been applied and successful when used in some real-world situations, including military tactics.