Finding Prisoners’ Dilemmas

December 21, 2008

by Gene Callahan

It’s instructive and entertaining to locate real life prisoners’ dilemmas. I spotted one at the baggage carousel at JFK Airport yesterday. Everyone lines up tightly around the edge of the carousel to get a shot at getting their bag as soon as it comes off. Of course, if everyone didn’t crowd around the carousel, everyone could get their bag with no trouble at all. But, since no one can trust anyone else not to crowd around the carousel, everyone does it, causing most people to have longer waits for their bags than if we had all simply relaxed and hung back a bit.

2 Responses to “Finding Prisoners’ Dilemmas”

  1. Bob Murphy Says:

    I always hang back. In fact, after the plane lands and finishes taxiing, I sit there and keep reading my book, even though everyone else stands up so they can…stand for 13 minutes.

  2. Bob – That’s because you are a more knowledgeable actor.

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