Pros And Cons Of A Prisoner's Dilemma

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The Prisoner’s Dilemma: you and Smith are both arrested on suspicion of committing a major crime (ten-year sentence). But there is only enough evidence to convict you both of a minor crime (one-year sentence). For publicity reasons, the government really wants a major conviction. Prosecutors offer you a deal: confess that the two of you committed the major crime together (portraying Smith as the mastermind and yourself as merely an accomplice), and you will be given lenient treatment as a reward for cooperating. An offer like this is also extended to Smith. Though each of you is aware that the other has also been offered the deal, you and Smith will not have the opportunity to talk it over and make your own deal with each other. Neither of you has any way to influence what the other does. Depending on what each of you chooses, there are four possible outcomes: 1 if you both confess, you will each get 5 years (both convicted of the major crime, but with a reduced sentence for cooperating) 2 if neither confesses, you will each…show more content…
This is called the “freerider” strategy. The person who keeps faithfully to the agreement with a freerider is called the “sucker”. All else equal, freeriding will appear to be a rational strategy. And no one wants to be the sucker. But that will lead us back to the scenario where we each act only for ourselves, either by giving in to the temptation to freeride, or the fear of being made into a sucker. So, we need to have a counterbalance to discourage people from using the freerider strategy. In short, we need to know that our deals will be enforced so that we will all find it rational to keep them: so, there is justification for a strong government, police force, and legal system to prevent freeriders from enjoying the fruits of their
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