Monday, September 18, 2006

Game Theory And The Clash Of Civilizations

In the now undeniable battle between Islam and the West, which group is most likely to prevail? This is an important question for Westerners, since if Islam prevails then many of them will be killed – homosexuals, for example, and the rest enslaved – women more than men. And the standards of living of the survivors will decline to the Muslim norm, an order of magnitude reduction. Here’s an analysis that says we’ll win easily.

Evolutionary biologists use
Game Theory to predict the mix of fighting strategies likely to be stable in populations of the same species. Stability means that any diversion from that mix tends to right itself automatically. If you don’t have time to read the above reference, there’s a nice summary in Chapter 5 of this book (but be sure to read the chapter notes, which correct some errors).

This post extends that approach, treating each of the world’s nations as an entity competing with all the others.

Fighting Strategies

Competing organisms adopt four main fighting strategies to take resources (food, territory, etc) from others of the same species. The labels are 60-ish because that’s when the theory developed.

Hawks always fight as hard as they can and only retreat when badly hurt.

Doves merely threaten, and never fight. Doves always run away from - and thus cede resources to - Hawks.

Retaliators start each conflict as if they’re a Dove, but if physically attacked they retaliate. So they behave like Doves when attacked by Doves, and like Hawks when attacked by Hawks,

A Bully behaves like a Hawk until an opponent hits back, and then he runs away.

Stable Mixes of Fighting Strategies

You model these by assigning costs and benefits to the components of each strategy, then simulating the effects of changing the strategy mix..

In a fight - even a Dove staring match - both parties pay a time penalty (time spent fighting is time not spent feeding, etc). Then of course the loser loses and the winner takes the object of the fight. And in Hawk fights, losers are either seriously injured or killed.

Putting numbers to these costs and benefits at first shows an all-Dove population is the best since it maximizes benefits and minimizes costs - although both fighters waste time, and the loser loses the object of the fight, nobody pays the cost of being hurt or killed.

But it's not stable - if just one Hawk is added to the mix, he and his successors rapidly spread since they get whatever they want without a fight. Finally a balance is reached where Hawks are controlled by the higher risk of injury or death in confronting other Hawks, so a stable Dove/Hawk mix arises.

The exact Hawk/Dove ratio depends on the values you assign to costs and benefits, but the broad stabilities seem to be:
- Pure Dove groups are invaded by Hawks and Bullies
- Pure Hawk groups are invaded by Doves and Bullies
- Pure Bully groups are invaded by Hawks
- Pure Retaliator groups are invaded first by Doves, then Hawks and Bullies replace both (I’m not convinced by this, and will check the math).

As you’d expect there are many other layers of complexity – real players differ in strength, so for example a weak Hawk won’t fight a stronger Hawk unless the payoff is big enough to justify the risk. And a stable population of (say) 60% Hawks and 40% Doves can mean that each individual plays Dove 40% of the time and Hawk the rest.

Still, for our purposes these complexities don’t matter.

Choice of Fighting Strategies

So what predisposes an individual to be more or less Hawk (or Dove) like? Turns out that in most species, including humans, success breeds success. So Hawk contestants that lose tend to lose more and become more Dovish while winners tend to win more and become more Hawkish.

The World’s Current Contestants

These are the fighting strategies currently adopted by each of the world’s major players. I've used the (arguable) principle that a nation's fighting strategy reflects the strategies of its population, unless it's a dictatorship.

US: Unstable Mix of Retaliator, Dove and Bully
I’ve found residents of recently settled States tend to be Retaliators, while those from the older States tend to be Doves. The population is being colonized by Bullies (the MSM and others).

Mainland Europe: Unstable Dove
All the Europeans I know are Doves. That’s because every one of these nations has known the humiliation of comprehensive defeat and occupation, and as we’ve seen that breeds Doves. Hence Europe’s paralysis when faced with the treat of Iranian nukes and its disdain for the US and Israeli Retaliators. The mix is unstable because it's being infiltrated by Bullies (see below), and that will pull in or create Hawks.

UK: Unstable Mix of Retaliator, Dove and Bully
I find the Dove percentage higher than in the US, the Retaliator mix smaller, and the Bully mix higher (the BBC is state funded and hence huge). The UK isn't pure Dove like the rest of Europe because it has only lost little wars - e.g. the one with the IRA.

Japan: Dove Turning Hawk
Japan was never defeated in the Home Islands, and is anyway more of a warrior culture than, say, Germany. Just read a Japanese adult comic book, and see

Islam: Bully
The bully strategy is used by the aggressive weak, and Islam – as we’re currently seeing – is very aggressive. It’s weak because its social structures prevent economic, technical, intellectual and artistic development.

Here's a bullying example from the WSJ today ($):
In Bosnia and Kosovo, whenever Saudi and Gulf agents offered funds to rebuild war-damaged communities, they insisted first on flattening cemeteries, destroying tombstones and whitewashing mosque décor, on the principle that pure iconophobic Islam abhorred the worship of idols.(This, despite the ubiquity of giant-sized idolatrous portraits, in their own countries, of Gulf and Saudi emirs on public walls -- not to mention currency notes.)
The current rage against the Pope is classic bully behavior – as Stalin observed, the Pope has no divisions - as is shooting a nun in the back and running away.

China: Bully
All dictatorships are bullies, and China is bullying Taiwan.

Israel: Unstable Mix of Retaliators and Doves
So it’ll likely end up Hawks and Bullies.

Which Civilizations Will Win?

Islam will fail because Bullies never win, and the culture lacks the competence and flexibility to adopt a different fighting strategy. It may have temporary successes – the UK and Europe are fat Dove targets – but these will trigger either invasions of or transformations into Hawks and the Bullies will be marginalized.

Israel will (unless nuked out of existence) become truly Hawkish, to the great detriment of its adversaries.

The US will become more Hawkish, ditto.

Japan will overcome China.

So this analysis predicts a rough ride that the Good Guys end up winning, although conflict will be with us forever.