Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Nice Surprise

I woke up today to find that Thomas Schelling is co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics. As a college student, I read some of his papers, heard him lecture, and participated in an international crisis-resolution simulation which he designed. He was a hero of mine, for the way he was able to explain and predict so much of human behaviour based on his elaborations of game theory. Both conservatives and liberals were suspicious of him--conservatives because game theory blows big holes in their dogma that unfettered pursuit of self-interest produces optimal results; liberals because his models were not informed by their warm-and-fuzzy idealism about human nature.

I say "were" because, even though Schelling is alive and well at 84, he has faded somewhat from the scene. He commented today that he had not expected to win the prize after all this time. It is unfortunate that he did not have more influence on policy--we would have avoided much that is evil in the world today, had our leaders been so rational. Still, it is gratifying that he has been recognized, even if belatedly. Let's hope it raises at least a little bit of awareness.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Brandon Stroy said...

Carlos, thanks for the provocative prose! I have a question. I come have a look at your posts once in a while and have noticed that some of the posts appear to be stream of consciousness, and others seem more well crafted and organized. So, the question is, do you ever write drafts or outlines, or do you just have at it? Anyway, hope all is well...

October 12, 2005 8:53 AM  
Blogger Carlos Zapato said...

Hey Brandon,

I write on the fly and then edit. Still working on it--I'm learning how to add links to articles of interest etc.

Thanks for checking it out.

October 12, 2005 6:53 PM  

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