The evolution of trust

Cooperate or cheat


During World War I, peace broke out. It was Christmas 1914 on the Western Front. Despite strict orders not to chillax with the enemy, British and German soldiers left their trenches, crossed No Man’s Land, and gathered to bury their dead, exchange gifts, and play games.

Meanwhile: it’s 2017, the West has been at peace for decades, and wow, we suck at trust. Surveys show that, over the past forty years, fewer and fewer people say they trust each other. So here’s our puzzle:

  • Why, even in peacetime, do friends become enemies?
  • And why, even in wartime, do enemies become friends?

I think game theory can help explain our epidemic of distrust – and how we can fix it! So, to understand all this let’s play a game.

Credits go to Nicky Case. He postet further notes about The Evolution of Cooperation and The Complexity of Cooperation.

See also

Check also his other projects out like Explorable Explanations.

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