The Harvard Gazette
Originally published April 27, 2018
Here is the conclusion:
“The interesting observation is that natural selection always chooses either partners or rivals,” Nowak said. “If it chooses partners, the system naturally moves to cooperation. If it chooses rivals, it goes to defection, and is doomed. An approach like ‘America First’ embodies a rival strategy which guarantees the demise of cooperation.”
In addition to shedding light on how cooperation might evolve in a society, Nowak believes the study offers an instructive example of how to foster cooperation among individuals.
“With the partner strategy, I have to accept that sometimes I’m in a relationship where the other person gets more than me,” he said. “But I can nevertheless provide an incentive structure where the best thing the other person can do is to cooperate with me.
“So the best I can do in this world is to play a strategy such that the other person gets the maximum payoff if they always cooperate,” he continued. “That strategy does not prevent a situation where the other person, to some extent, exploits me. But if they exploit me, they get a lower payoff than if they fully cooperated.”
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