Muslims and Game Theory

Recently a Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to someone who found a way to understand conflict and cooperation through ‘game theory’. Game theory is the science of determining what actions individuals or groups are likely to take to secure the best outcome for themselves in any situation. An early example of game theory in action was the political policy based on the idea that when numerous nations possess nuclear weapons no nation would use a nuclear weapon because nuclear retribution would be assured, this was called mutually assured destruction (MAD). It would be in no country’s interest to use nuclear weapons, because if you used them others would then use nuclear weapons on your country in retaliation, so there was no way you could win.

Today the United States will not sign obviously necessary global environmental treaties to ensure a healthy, safe world for future generations because they believe to sign would not be in the best interests of their fast failing economy. So long as they believe they are benefiting from not signing the treaties they will not sign. To induce the United States to sign these much needed environmental treaties it has to become in their perceived best interests. This inducement could come from the many countries that are already willing to sign those environmental treaties banding together and only having economic dealings with other countries that have signed those same treaties. With the United States being excluded from any opportunity to gain economically from commerce with most of the rest of the world they would soon come to realize that it was in the best interests of their economy to sign those environmental treaties, and would welcome the opportunity to do so.

I say to you my dear Muslim brothers and sisters that we must consider the opportunities offered by game theory as our resource rich Islamic nations interact with the Western world.


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