Utah State University

Conscription and Chess

Leeson’s chapter on conscription was very interesting to me.  A lot of the statements that Leeson uses seem to be common sense.  I’m not sure however, if it is because of the economic training that I have had or because his arguments are really common sense.

He however, does have a way of simplifying complex motives and incentives in his analysis.  The most interesting part was when his introduced the idea of pirates wanting to be forced into piracy.  This allowed them to have a loophole in the law if caught and if not they were allowed to do what they desired in the first place.  It’s surprising how often things of this nature happen.

It is always interesting to watch how people bait others to gain what they want.  It ranges from flattery in dating to a bully provoking the first punch in a fight.  Humans seem to look for ways to rationalize their inappropriate behaviors and desires.  I have a tendency to like to playfully argue with my close friends and have almost a battle of words in seeing who can prove the other wrong even though nobody is incorrect.  The points of the argument are usually ambiguous but the trick comes when you bait someone into saying something that contradicts what they have said before.  This allows a justifiable attach.

The more I think about it, Chess really does provide many examples of incentives and baiting others to get what one wants.  In Chess one must be several steps ahead of his or her opponent in order to successfully achieve the objective.  One must generally give up something in order to get what they really want more.  Pirates were willing to give up absolute safety from the law in order to participate or get someone to compel them to participate in piracy.  It constantly surprises me how well incentives explain the actions of not only pirates but also ourselves.

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