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Confirmed: We have the selfish politicians we want

Confirmed: We have the selfish politicians we want

The political leaders of our day have certain psychological characteristics that differentiate them from ordinary people and, in addition, help them achieve power.

Some of these characteristics are usually the narcissism, the competitiveness And, as an ingenious collaborative game designed by scientists has shown, the selfishness and extortion. The game was created simulating the Paris Climate Summit, held late last year. Their goal was to reveal a dilemma: What are we willing to give each for the good of all.

In this conflict, the selfishness of our political representatives plays a fundamental role and, in addition, favors their choice. The experiment was carried out by researchers from theMax-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Biology. Although it is possible to draw important conclusions from it, its simplicity means that it can be repeated, for example, in any high school class or among our group of friends.

A social dilemma: Egosmo vs. cooperation

The study, published in Nature Communications, is only a reflection of the dilemma of our time: the sacrifice of slowing down global warming. To do this, they had a group of volunteers and gave each one (symbolically, of course) 40. This money could be invested in a common fund for 10 consecutive rounds. If a target figure was reached in that fund, climate change slows and each individual is left with the amount of money not invested. However, if the goal is not reached everyone loses their money. The fun of the game is that, Although it is in everyone's interest to curb global warming, everyone wants to invest as little as possible to minimize losses.

As it appears in the image, the test was carried out with groups of 18 volunteers subdivided into 6 passes (of three people each). The members of each country exposed their electoral promises, that is, the strategy that they were going to follow in the game. Next, a representative was voted and selected. The result was, therefore, a summit of 6 people, each representing and playing with their country's money. Two other groups served as controls. In one of them 18 people played and in another 6, without representatives or represented.

The representatives: selfish politicians and extortionists

As a target sum, half the total money was set. In this way, in an ideal situation each player will contribute half of his money, keeping the rest and reaching the goal. This is what scientists called a fair player. However, there were other people who contributed less than they should, the selfish players.

Well, the first conclusion that the representatives reached the goal only in 33% of the games, while the rest of the groups did so in 60%. This means that the representatives are, usually, more selfish than the rest. According to scientists, this may be because politicians act more competitively speaking on behalf of other people.

On the other hand, after each game new elections were held, in which the politicians could be re-elected or not. It was shown that selfish politicians were more likely to be elected a second time. Furthermore, scientists consider these as extortionists since the basis of the success of the selfish politicians is that they force the rest of the players to invest more if they want to stop the disaster. Thus, they minimize their investment at the expense of the rest.