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Dead Economists Salon Series : Playing Games – from The Prisoners’ Dilemma and Mutually Assured Destruction to Axie Infinity and Beyond!

December 8, 2021 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm CET

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The Dead Economists Society Salon series continues as Bronwyn Williams and Peter Isztin discuss game theory.

“If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.”
~John von Neumann

In this meeting of the Dead Economists Salon Series we’re going to play – with game theory. Hosted by: Bronwyn Williams and Peter Isztin.

We’ll talk about everything from the origins of game theory and the sanity of mutually-assured destruction, right up to the new, emerging play-to-earn gaming economies popping up in the metaverse.

We’ll ask:

  • Why incentives rule the world (and why instrumental rationality is so hard)
  • If collaboration is sustainable at scale
  • What holds and what breaks equilibrium in games
  • Why and when people are prepared to harm themselves to punish others
  • If online play to earn gaming is a Ponzi scheme – or the future of work
  • If central bankers should be forced to play EVE online
  • and more…

To answer these questions, we’ll explore the work of John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern (and the mysterious Satoshi Nakomoto) and the impact their ideas have had and continue to have on the world.

Come join us and debate…

Suggested reading:

On the economics of John Nash (alas, also dead): https://afinetheorem.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/the-economics-of-john-nash/

Learning from Thomas Schelling: https://home.uchicago.edu/~rmyerson/stratofc2010.pdf (Was Schelling the best game theory scholar of them all?)

A (wrong!) illustration of Nash Equilibrium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d_dtTZQyUM


Mutually assured (economic) destruction : https://nation.time.com/2011/10/10/mutually-assured-economic-destruction/

The Bitcoin dilemma : https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/the-bitcoin-dilemma

The economics of Special Love Potions : https://www.decentralised.co/the-economics-behind-axie-infinity/

The microeconomic economics of EVE Online : https://minds.wisconsin.edu/bitstream/handle/1793/79143/11460%20OshScholar18%20Smith.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

The preference for punishment : https://www.nature.com/articles/srep03055



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December 8, 2021
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm CET