Monday Medley

What we read while being “questioned by the Secret Service,” if you know what I mean…

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Professor Lombardo on April 23, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    That “Golden Balls’ clip really was a great illustration of the PD. Of course, it was only possible because there was a “shadow of the future.”


    • Posted by John S on April 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      I don’t think it was really a “shadow of the future” situation, since there was no threat of them playing this game again. It was more that they were allowed to coordinate, which isn’t fully in the spirit of the PD.

      Also, “Golden Balls” is the worst fucking name for a game show.


      • Posted by Josh on April 23, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        It was just a very clever commitment strategy by the white contestant (I say “white” only because I don’t know his name). It’s like the driver in chicken who ties his hands behind his back: the other contestant “knew” he was going to defect and that the choice was between a) also defecting and ensuring neither gets any money and b) cooperating and having a non-zero probability that the white contestant shares half of the money with him. The white contestant saw this as an optimal (and counterintutive) strategy for getting the other contestant to cooperate, and it worked.

        I agree it’s only a variant of a prisoner’s dilemma because of the bargaining. But that just makes it interesting in a different way.


        • Posted by John S on April 23, 2012 at 3:14 PM

          You know, you could have just as easily called him “the fat contestant” or, even better, Nick (which is what the host calls him, and what is I’m assuming his name), instead of “the white contestant.”

          Interesting your mind went there though…


          • Posted by Josh on April 23, 2012 at 3:16 PM

            I considered “fat” but I thought that was derogatory. And I watched the video last night, so didn’t even remember they called him Nick.

  2. Posted by Professor Lombardo on April 23, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I would still maintain that there’s a “shadow of the future” because the reputational consequences are potentially very high… Nevertheless, after commenting, I did think about it a little bit… Obviously, there is some expectation of defection in the context of “Golden Balls,” so any potential costs are highly variable- and I think this is pretty clear when you watch other clips on youtube. In some cases, though, I feel the money is probably not worth it… For example, take the bitch in this clip:


    • Posted by John S on April 23, 2012 at 10:18 PM

      Yeah, it’s interesting how reputational consequences play a role. I mean, personally, I think it’s pretty silly to extrapolate moral claims from how someone behaves on a game show, but it’s very interesting how often ideas like “trust” and “honor” and “shame” are invoked for the sake of things like this.


  3. Posted by Professor Lombardo on April 23, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    I prefer throwing the steering wheel out the window to tying hands behind one’s back, by the way. It just seems more practical.


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