Last semester for the catalyst conference I focused on abortion rights from a bioethics standpoint. This semester I would like to branch off that topic from a game theory standpoint. This topic is important to me because I am a feminist first of all, and I believe everyone has the right to their own body. I am a strong believer of pro-choice, however my last project focused more on trying to make sure nobody invalidates or ignores another’s opinion. I think standing up for your beliefs and a cause is one of the most important things, so this semester I wanted to focus on that. I wanted to answer the question of whether it is better to be active or inactive. This time I want to focus on the game aspect of it and see if there really is one solution for people and/or for people to stand up for their opinion.
A large debate has been going on for a very long time regarding abortion rights. People are neutral, pro-choice, and pro-life. Many of these supporters are very set on their opinion, hence the large debate/problem. There is also the problem of how people are supporting their opinion which is what I plan to focus on. Many people will not do anything while others will rally and stand up for their opinion. This causes debate as well because some people think this is causing problems while others say people are doing nothing. Some believe rallies and marches are just causing more issues, which is why they voice their opinions online. Others think being online causes more arguments and problems. So what is the best way to show your opinion?
The Game of Activism:
(This matrix is looking at payoffs from personal satisfaction rather than competition against one another. These payoffs are also my opinion on what is best)
AA- both actively show views
AB- 1 active and 2 does nothing
AC- 1 active and 2 inactive
BA- 1 does nothing and 2 active
BB- both do nothing
BC- 1 does nothing and 2 inactive
CA- 1 inactive and 2 is active
CB- 1 is inactive and 2 does nothing
CC- both inactive
Both of the players in this situation value showing their opinion more than the laws at hand. In certain situations the players would want the laws to follow their opinions, but in this case, we are directly focusing on activism. When actively showing the opinions (ie rallies and marches) they are actually making a change in the world. I made being active 5 because both of their goals are to get their voice heard, so this would be most beneficial for both of them. Doing nothing is the worst of the strategies which is why it is -3. By doing nothing, neither of them are taking any action to get their opinions out. Lastly I made inactively showing their opinion (ie tweeting/arguments online) 0. I made it 0 because it is more beneficial than doing nothing because they are trying to do something and showing their opinion. It shows initiative yet it is still lower than actively showing their opinion because they are still not being as active as they can.
(5,5) is the nash equilibrium. Nash equilibrium is essentially the best worst case scenario. In this situation, the nash equilibrium gives both players the highest payoff, however this is not always the case. The nash equilibrium occurs when the payoffs can’t be changed without it affecting one or the others outcomes in a positive or negative way.
Pareto optimal: AA, AC, AB
Player 1: A
Player 2: A, C, B
The pareto optimal solutions are AA, AC, and AB. The pareto optimal strategy finds the most efficient way of doling out the payoffs in a way where you are no longer able to change the solution without negatively affecting one player.
For the payoff tree, we are thinking of this game in sequence rather than it being played simultaneously. When played in sequence the payoffs are changed because the players are not playing by responding to the other. Their goal now is to get their voice heard but to do it in a more effective way than their counterpart. The solution would be (0,0) meaning that player 1 would actively show their views and so would player 2. This would results in zeros for both parties because if they both take the most beneficial action, it basically cancels eachother out, because neither one is getting their voice heard more than the other.
The solution(s) that I found are basically the best worst case scenario for each player in this situation. The solution in this case could not change without putting one player at a disadvantage. The nash equilibrium solution was that both players should actively show their views leading them each to a payoff of five. The payoffs for the matrix are based off of personal satisfaction while the tree is a competition between the two players. The payoffs are also my opinion of what is the best way to be heard and show your opinion. This solution makes sense when looking at the payoffs because these are the highest possible outcome for each player. This solution of them both being active with allow each of the players to have the most satisfaction. The solution also makes sense in a game theory standpoint, because both players want their highest payoff and each would assume that the other would play the strategy with the best chance of getting a high payoff. The pareto optimal solutions, as explained earlier, are AA, AB, and AC, which are either both players are active, player one is active and player two does nothing, or player one is active and player two inactively shows their opinion. This solution makes sense for player one because they always want to try and get their highest possible payoff. The solution makes less sense with player two because one would assume they want to try and gain the highest payoff meaning they would play A. A is part of their pareto optimal solution however it also tells them to play B and C, which would not gain them a very high payoff. Lastly on the tree diagram, we get the same solution as the matrix. This means that playing the game sequentially and simultaneously gain us the same solution and payoff. This, however, would not be the case if we were looking at a matrix or tree of payoffs of the two opinions versus each other and how the players would do dependent on their opponents move. The tree is at a very basic standard game level right now, but in real life many factors would play into it. One large factor could be social norms and patterns. People tend to follow the actions of others, especially if someone is famous, and this occurrence could lead to a change of the tree. For example, a celebrity could tweet about their opinion (inactively showing their opinion) and people could take this action and believe it is better than others and copy it, leading to a change of the solution.
A program that could be carried out could be one that assists people with actively showing their voices. I know in many schools there are young activism clubs and that is a great way to allow students to voice their opinions and be active. To start a club like this at school, I would start by finding people with the same views and opinions as you and very clearly articulating to the school what your central aim and goal is. Once you have enough people, most schools will allow a club to be started. Since this is such an important cause, I think many people will be interested. I think it could be beneficial to have programs like this for adults as well. This would allow them to voice their opinions, but have a support system and help doing so. This program would alleviate some of the initial stress and problems that arise when trying to be active alone.
What Can YOU Do?
I strongly encourage everyone to stand up for what they believe and to go out and get your voice heard. Nothing is going to happen and there we be no reform if we refuse to do something about it. We create the future so why not make it what we want? Be activists! Get your voice heard! Make a change!
Connecting And A Call To Action:
Here is a google doc for us to communicate and share our stories of being activists. I encourage everyone to share photos or just chat on here about how you have actively shown your opinion. Share your stories so others will be motivated to get their voice heard.