The Real Marriage Ref



A Web site called Side Taker caught my attention recently. It invites couples to post what they’re fighting about and let the gazillions of people on the Internet decide who’s right. It’s preposterous. But like most preposterous things on the Internet, it’s also genius.

In game theory–the study of how people interact in strategic situations–using a referee is one way to settle a disagreement. The idea was tossed out by Robert Aumann, a Nobel Prize winner who said when two players can’t make a binding contract to determine what to do, they can allow the solution to be determined at random by a third party. That third-party could be a coin toss or a mediator. (Aumann works at a place called “The Center for Rationality,” which makes us trust him even more than his Nobel chops.)

So that’s it, the solution to all your problems: Toss a coin! We told you economics was the easiest route to happy marriage.

Think of it as outsourcing to someone you’ll actually listen to when you’ve stopped listening to your spouse.

Posted in arguing, game theory, strategy

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