Sunday, October 23, 2005

Playing games with guns?

Case 1: Bipasha has a gun. Kareena has a gun. Imagine a confrontation. Would they still attack each other? Or would there be more gun-related accidents?

Case 2: Bipasha has a gun. Kareena doesn't have a gun. Suppose that crimes with guns carry severe punishment. Would Bipasha still attack Kareena?

Case 3: Neither of Bipasaha and Kareena are allowed by law to carry guns. Would that decrease gun-related crime?

Now add in a little more complication.

Let us make the cost of acquiring ownership of a gun high. How would that change the interactions? And what if the cost of it was low?


In the first case, greater chances are that these beautiful heroines won't attack each other (i wish they attacked me!) with guns if both of them have the knowledge that retaliation is certain. In the case that Bipasha does n't have knowledge of Kareena's type of gun (it could be an AK-47 or a countrymade revolver) how does Bipasha manage to turn the confrontation to her advantage? Well, this year's Nobel Prize was for an explanation of that. If Bipasha makes a credible committment that she is going to hit Kareena even at the slightest provocation, then greater chances are that Bips won't hit Kareena. So that would mean if people are allowed to carry guns, gun-related crimes would reduce. It doesn't tell us anything about whether overall crime would reduce. So there are examples of reduced gun-crimes in states in US with no gun-control.Whether people would stop using poisonous gases (let us say) to commit crimes is not predicted. So I have suspicions whether there is an overall decrease in crime!

In the second case, you would assume that crimes would reduce. But this is a beauty from the field of law and economics...increased chances of getting caught is a greater deterrent for crime than punishment-severity of the crime! Now it seems obvious, na! So if you have weak implementation of catching people for gun-crimes and high severity of punishment, it still wouldn't deter you from gunning for me! Example: gunning in Bihar!

In the third case, if it is not legally allowed; the costs of acquiring a gun are low; the chances of being caught are low, then expect the gun to be illegally acquired and lots of firing. Example: Mumbai mafia!

What we have indulged in is a bit of game theory with the context of guns!
Let us apply it to a society with increasing divorces, where it is legally easier to obtain a divorce and where divorces will not be seen as a "shameful chapter" any longer!

How would the situation turn out?

Does easy availability of a divorce, in turn, increase the extent and rate of divorces?
The sad (or good part, however you see it) is that probably it will.

Right now there are two books staring at me, a book called Simulation Modeling and Analysis necessary for my homework and another called A Mathematician reads the Newspaper! On a Sunday afternoon it is obviously the latter that I would turn into . More on it later on...

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