This article applies a variant of game theory to the Pareto multi-value problematique, that is situations where members of a group, community or society are faced with alternative allocations, institutional arrangements, or states of the world and may collectively choose an allocation, institutional arrangement or state of the world if they can agree on it. This type of multiple value decision situation is increasingly prevalent not only on the level of societal and political issues but on the level of many enterprises, particularly those advocating corporate social responsibility. Because actors hold and apply values from different perspectives, there are potential contradictory value judgments and incompatible equilibria. In a world of contradiction, incommensurability, and disequilibrium, to what extent can conflicts be resolved and social equilibrium accomplished? Force works but it is inherently unstable. Drawing on an extension of classical game theory, generalized game theory (GGT), this article addresses the multi-value problematique in terms of collective “resolution procedures.” These regulative procedures—or social algorithms—are applied to problems of conflict and suboptimality in a multiple value world such as Pareto envisioned. This paper (the first of two) outlines key elements of GGT, defines the Pareto multi-value problematique, pointing out several of the critical weaknesses, theoretical as well as empirical, of the Pareto approach. GGT is then applied in defining and analyzing several major procedures to realize improvements in a multi-value world characterized by conflict and sub-optimality. A second article conceptualizes a complex of societal games making up a social system with 2-phase multi-level game processes; it applies the conceptualization to the different societal procedures for multi-value choice under conditions of conflict. Procedures such as democratic voting, adjudication and administrative decision-making, and multi-lateral negotiation are capable of producing outcomes that in many cases are widely accepted as legitimate and become social equilibria (at least within some range of conditions). These procedures and the conditions for their activation and implementation are modelled and explicated through a generalized game approach.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: May 28, 2009
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