March 16, 2016

Rational emotions

Feeling smart

Game theory is a crucial contribution to science. However it is not that easy to get a clear understanding unless experiments that confirm hypothetical outcomes are well described. And experiments are context dependent.
If you want a good overview of the main insights of Game Theory, have a look at this book "Feeling Smart, why our emotions are more rational than you think" by Eyan Winter. It goes beyond game theory, this is the most fortunate part.You don't need maths to understand it. Mostly it is devoted to applications in a useful way, using behavioral and information views .
Let's take a statement on trust:

Trust is an engine of cooperation between individuals. Cooperation, in turn, is an engine of economic growth and social welfare. Trust cannot be sustained in a society without credibility, the behavioral trait that fosters trust. On the other hand, just as trust cannot survive for long without credibility, credibility is eventually destroyed without trust. If trust is virtually nonexistent in a social setting, then there is no point in trying to develop or sustain credibility; in that situation you are better off adopting selfish and unreliable behavior. Societies and nations can be in one of two equilibria: a “good” equilibrium in which individuals trust each other and behave in a reliable and cooperative manner toward others (justifying the trust), or a “bad” equilibrium in which individuals do not trust each other, with that lack of trust becoming self-justifying as people act without any sense of a need to be trustworthy or reliable. It is easy to guess, even without empirical data, which of these equilibria leads to greater economic growth.
If you are interested in trust games, then go to part II, "On trust and generosity", this is what you should read. I highly recommend it, I've enjoyed reading it.

PS. I have a vague feeling these days about what's going on health policy in my country. May be credibility is starting to be undermined? Any health model relies on the credibility and trust of different actors. It is not possible to build a health system without trust among all stakeholders. Instead of creating the conditions for a new health policy based on cooperation, may be the new foundations are departing from conflict?. Is this the way to create a successful health policy?