Table Of Proposed Rules To Live By

The Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The Stiver Rule

Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

The Brazen (Brass) Rule

Do unto others as they do unto you.

The Iron Rule

Do unto others as you like, before they do it unto you.

The Tit-for-Tat Rule

Cooperate with others first, then do unto them as they do unto you.

strategists must find others who are willing to reciprocate, with whom they can cooperate. After the first tournament in which the Brazen Rule unexpectedly won, some experts thought the strategy too forgiving. Next tournament, they tried to exploit it by defecting more often. They always lost. Even experienced strategists tended to underestimate the power of-forgiveness and reconciliation. Tit-for-Tat involves an interesting mix of proclivities: initial friendliness, willingness to forgive, and fearless retaliation. The superiority of the Tit-for-Tat Rule in such tournaments has been recounted by Axelrod. Something like it can be found throughout the animal kingdom and has been well-studied in our closest relatives, the chimps. Described and named "reciprocal altruism" by the biologist Robert Trivers, animals may do favors for others in expectation of having the favors returned—not every time, but often enough to be useful. This is hardly an invariable moral strategy, but it is not uncommon either. So there is no need to debate the antiquity of the Golden, Silver, and Brazen Rules, or Tit-for-Tat, and the priority of the moral prescriptives in the Book of Leviticus. Ethical rules of this sort were not originally invented by some enlightened human lawgiver. They go deep into our evolutionary past. They were with our ancestral line from a time before we were human.

The Prisoner's Dilemma is a very simple game. Real life is considerably more complex. If he gives our apple to the pencil man, is my father more likely to get an apple back? Not from the pencil man; we'll never see him again. But might widespread acts of charity improve the economy and give my father a raise? Or do we give the apple for emotional, not economic rewards? Also, unlike the players in an ideal

Prisoner's Dilemma game, human beings and nations come to their interactions with predispositions, both hereditary and cultural.

230 • Billions and Billions

But the central lessons in a not very prolonged round-robin of Prisoner's Dilemma are about strategic clarity; about the self-defeating nature of envy; about the importance of long-term over short-term goals; about the dangers of both tyranny and patsydom; and especially about approaching the whole issue of rules to live by as an experimental question. Game theory also suggests that a broad knowledge of history is a key survival tool. CHAPTER 17

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