Re: Tolerance strategies (was: Two Essays on the violence...)

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 11:27:35 MDT


On Thu, 25 Oct 2001, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> "Alex F. Bokov" wrote:
> >
> > An open
> > society cannot prevail completely because it can be taken advantage of
> > by closed societies.
> How? Nobody is strong enough to invade us.

They are, they have, and there are a few thousand less of us. It
didn't even take much military strength to do it. Which is the point
I'm making. Openness is a good strategy only if you're surrounded by
other open societies... but then closedness also becomes a good
strategy b/c your neighbors will let you infiltrate and cheat them in
all sorts of ways.

I can hear experienced PDers yelling "tit-for-tat, dammit!". Okay,
that makes a game stabler, but still not perfect. Now there are three
types of players: cooperators (open societies), defectors (closed
societies), and reciprocators (tit-for-tat). Globally, cooperators are
the most efficient-- they don't waste time figuring out who to
cooperate with and who to defect on. They just cooperate with
everyone. Defectors can't parasitize cooperators with impunity
anymore, because lurking among them are reciprocators who will defect
on defectors and cooperate with cooperators. There is trouble in
(near) paradise, though. Because cooperators are more efficient than
reciprocators, they start to displace them. With reciprocators
declining, there are fewer who would keep the defectors in
check. We're back at the first scenario until the reciprocator
population rebounds (while the cooperators are driven to near
extinction). In effect, the defectors parasitize of cooperators and
cooperators to a lesser extent parasitize off reciprocators because
they use them for defense yet give safe harbor to everyone's mutual
adversaries, the defectors.

On a tangent, perhaps herein lies the resentment hawks feel toward
pacifists-- pacifists survive because society is protected by hawks,
but they are indiscriminately friendly toward everyone, including
those the hawks are against.

Perhaps the next iteration of this puzzle is what would happen if
there were reciprocators who only cooperated with other reciprocators
and defected on cooperators and defectors both? Or perhaps
reciprocators capable of sensing whether they're in a predominantly
cooperative or defective environment?

- --
* I believe that the majority of the world's Muslims are good, *
* honorable people. If you are a Muslim and want to reassure me and *
* others that you are part of this good, honorable majority, all *
* you need to say are nine simple words: "I OPPOSE the Wahhabi cult *
* and its Jihad." *

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