Don’t Kill The Messenger

Given that globalization and technology are the two main non-anthropomorphic forces which are changing and transforming everything from both a microlevel perspective and a macrolevel perspective, it follows that every individual has a personal story in relation to their adjustment to these two forces. My own personal story of adjusting to globalization and technology is bittersweet, and the adjustment to globalization and technology for me personally was much more painful than pleasurable. Being uprooted from community and from the comfort which comes with having a deeply-rooted identity is never easy, but the uprooting was a direct and necessary consequence of these two forces, namely, globalization and technology. In turn, globalization and technology require that those individuals like myself who were accustomed to a sense of community, complacency, and deep-rootedness regarding one’s identity are then put into an “evolve or die” situation as a result of globalization and technology, thus the painful and torturous adjustment away from one’s community and deep-rooted identity towards globalism and global citizenship.

Any basic model of science would suggest that inputs directly affect the quality and nature of outputs. In other words: “Garbage in, garbage out.” For instance, taking advice from Zalmay Khalilzad and Paul Wolfowitz leads to the situation we face as an international community today. But telling the truth is easier said than done. Courage is required in order to tell the truth. Although it is difficult in the beginning and in the short run, truth-telling contributes to the overall good in the long run.

Nor is rationality synonymous with political correctness. In many cases, decision-making is based on totally irrational considerations. More often than not, being politically correct or doing what is “cool” and “popular” can be totally irrational, whereas taking the risk of being politically incorrect and going against the grain of conventional thinking can actually be the rational course of action in the long run.

One of the key components of “Game Theory” – with “Game Theory” amounting to the study of decision-making and strategy with the aim of rendering favorable and optimal outcomes – is the issue of “information transmission” and how “information transmission” is actually a scheme, in the sense that there is always a sender of information on one hand and a receiver of information on the other hand. And in this scheme, it is the receiver of information who is dependent on the sender of information, given that relations can be based either on necessary and contingent parties or mutual dependence between parties. But in the case of “information transmission,” it is believed that the relationship is based on necessity on one hand and contingency on the other hand rather than mutual dependence, with the sender of information assuming the role of the necessary party, and the receiver of information assuming the role of the contingent or dependent party.

And at the heart of “Game Theory” is the scenario or situation known as the “Prisoner’s Dilemma.” In sum, the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” is a universal situation that confounds virtually everyone in the social world, regardless of class or social status. In almost every instance, there are two parties who end being put in a situation vis-à-vis one another known as the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” whereby the choice for each party is between cooperation on one hand, and cheating or defection on the other hand.

More often than not, one party will seek to benefit from the situation without giving anything up and to be let off from the situation scotch-free. Theoretically, the greatest benefit that can be derived for one party would be through using a situation for one’s own benefit without giving anything up in return. But in many cases, both parties are thinking along the same lines, which means that the likelihood is that both parties will cheat and defect from one another, which in turn will result in an overall loss for both parties. On the other hand, cooperation – and if the psychosocial roadblocks and obstacles to cooperation are to be overcome – would lead to mutual benefit for both parties, although the benefits of mutual cooperation would be less than the benefits derived from one party cheating and defecting while the other party cooperates.

Thus, the issue of trust between two parties is a major factor in the decisions made by each party as to whether cooperation or defection is the best course of action. In turn, the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” is actually an irresolvable dilemma and a paradox. As William Poundstone wrote: “In a true, one-time-only prisoner’s dilemma, it is as hard to justify cooperation as it is to accept mutual defection as the logical outcome. Therein lies the paradox.” The notion that the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” is irresolvable and is a paradox is best illustrated by the relationship between the United States and Russia, in the sense that the distrust between the two parties is a roadblock to cooperation, but the roadblock leads to cheating and defection and thus conflict, which in turn leads to material loss for both parties. Therein lies the irresolvable aspect and the paradoxical nature of the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” as it pertains to one particular case, albeit one which has global consequences and implications.

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