Society and economy: Models of social man

Per J. Otnes   

Oslo: Solum forlag 2004   

ISBN/ISSN: 82-560-1449-0

This book confronts a major institution of recent decades – neo-liberalism and its exaggerated pro-market views. It examines two of its Game Theory models: "The Prisoner's Dilemma" and "The Tragedy of the Commons". Both are shown to be basically unstable; they may change into several quite distinct games at any phase. Market economics has a base in Game Theory much in the same way as mathematics in formal logic. A comparative success in mathematics, less so in economics, for a huge superstructure over an unstable basis is not a comfortable position.Two examples of commons are examined in historical detail, the city commons of 17 c. Oslo and Trondheim. Numerous local cases are surveyed more summarily, as well as European similar cases. Finally, a brief mention of commons of the sea, air, subsoil, and of the Net. The conclusion is the same for all: big interests damage or eliminate commons, while small interests can make them thrive and prosper.Our Policeman case involved police violence, where one confessing policeman was punished, while his nine denying colleagues were not. Elaborating on that, a number of Solidarity Games are outlined. A number of similar cases and their formalisations are discussed, as is the Prisoner model provenance. Finally, an outline of implications for social theory. The conclusion is, in the words of Bourdieu: a field is a game whose rules – and we add players – enter e.g. as stakes or payoffs. A more realistic model tentatively named Game approaching social situations (GASSs, fields) is outlined.

By Per Otnes
Published Oct. 10, 2010 11:19 AM - Last modified Sep. 19, 2016 3:58 PM