Yanis Varoufakis and Shaun Hargreaves-Heap. Game theory really begins with the publication of The Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. They defined a game as any interaction between agents that is governed by a set of rules specifying the possible moves for each participant and a set of outcomes for each possible combination of moves. One is hard put to find an example of social phenomenon that cannot be so described. Thus a theory of games promises to apply to almost any social interaction where individuals have some understanding of how the outcome for one is affected not only by his or her own actions but also by the actions of others. This is quite extraordinary. From crossing the road in traffic, to decisions to disarm, raise prices, give to charity, join a union, produce a commodity, have children, and so on, the claim was made that we shall now be able to draw on a single mode of analysis: the theory of games.
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