A mediation ended without amicable agreement. The parties had reached that understanding only. It had taken several sessions over several weeks, with plenty of recrimination about the past that further damaged already damaged relationships. At least there was clarity. The consequences were clear too. It was not the preferred solution. What did this do with…

John Sturrock and I recently had the pleasure of contributing a session on game theory and mediation to a workshop on global conflict and dispute resolution hosted by the Delhi Metropolitan Education College. Preparing for the event led me to reflect further on game theory and its relationship to mediation. In summary, game theory analyses…

“Humanity has outsmarted itself. With its ingenuity, this tribal ape has created a world its tribalism can’t manage. We know this…But the knowledge is not enough.” So began Martin Wolf in a recent article in the Financial Times following a meeting of the finance ministers of the G20 – one of the institutions created to improve…

So ended a recent article in the FT by Martin Wolf on the economic response needed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In it he argues that Governments acting in the collective interest must be the buyer of last resort as well as the lender of last resort to prevent the economy imploding as…

If the natural resources of the planet and its capacity to cope with our waste are finite, is it reasonable for mediators to be encouraging people to search for positive sum solutions which can benefit all parties to a negotiation? If you can achieve a win-win in one case could it, on a global scale,…

One way of describing mediation is as a process that seeks to convert what is apparently a zero or negative sum game into a positive-sum game. This is to use the language of game theory, which analyses strategies that rational players take to secure the best outcomes in interactive, interdependent ‘games’; where the outcome for…

The U.K.’s decision to leave the EU and the voting in of the protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency has drawn both the UK and the USA into the Nash Trap. U.S. mathematician John Nash (the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’) postulated that Adam Smith’s declaration that ‘In competition, individual ambition serves the common good’…

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” These words of Voltaire are as apt today as they were when he wrote them in the 18th century. I don’t know about you but this year seems to be a curious mixture where some people purport to deal in apparent certainties, which…

John and David Sturrock 1. Introduction Several years ago, while travelling back with my son David to Oxford where he was studying as an undergraduate, we discussed my work as a mediator and his study of economics, particularly the learning for us both from Game Theory. I (John) had been familiar with The Prisoners’ Dilemma…