Games Species Play

What's the secret of life? It may be that our genes are all in the same boat. They sink or swim together

On the day James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA, Crick was heard to remark that they had "found the secret of life." With all due respect for DNA, I would like to nominate another candidate for secret of life: non-zero-sumness. An ugly word, I know, but remember: deoxyribonucleic acid didn't get where it is today on the basis of its looks.

Alas, unlike Francis Crick, I can't claim to have discovered the secret I'm touting. It was discovered half a century ago by the founders of game theory, John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. They made a...

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