Academic journals for high school students

Academic journals

Introducing academic journals for high school students

Given Certain Conditions, Even Selfish Prisoners Can Learn

Michael Cho
Seoul International School


In a predominantly selfish society where all are “free to cooperate or not,” the absence of a central authority seems intimidating because everyone works for themselves, and thus, no one works for the whole. In fact, in such an absence of central authority, it may even be said that we live in a state of general anarchy in consideration of the more excellent picture. On pretty much any scale imaginable — whether it be within a community, state, or on a global scale — all of us are but “”prisoners”,” profoundly affected in every moment by the choices of others; indeed, this is the context behind the game theory as a field. The idea that humans are purely motivated by greed, ego, and profit was initially a sound explanation on how competition and productivity improved under capitalism, and the magical invisible hand promotes the best for all. However, it is also an obsession with self-interest that causes capitalism’s most fatal flaws, namely growth in economic inequality and moral hazard (Piketty 304).

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