Real Life Is Not Always Like The Movies

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The classic example used to teach students Game Theory, and a frequent plot element of action movies, is most often called the Mexican Standoff, where three people each have their guns pointed toward the next and if one shoots, they all will shoot the next. How does one solve this dilemma? In the movies, the hero or heroes of the movie never gets shot and always end up winning the Mexican Standoff, often because of some quick move or through an outside influence changing the game. However, real life is not always like the movies. In Mexico, there is a real-life Mexican Standoff scenario occurring with the federal government, and a slew of cartels. Does game theory offer any insight into why this international conflict is occurring or how we can solve it? As seen through the lens of Game Theory, the Mexican Standoff can easily be solved and one can calculate the odds of any one individual not being shot. Since there are three guns, there is a limited number of outcomes that can occur from this scenario. The first person to shoot has the least chance of surviving since then the third person would then shoot them. However, since the second person to shoot has the advantage everyone is dis incentivised to shoot first, thus a standoff ensues. Usually, the standoff ends when a fourth person either shoots someone in the standoff or creates a distraction so that one of the people in the standoff can have the advantage to shoot the others. Something similar is
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