Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

How can I describe this concept succinctly?

Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I remember a scene in a movie with Steve Martin. He's holding a bunch of bad guys (nazis, iirc) at gunpoint. There are like 10 or 15 mooks, but the pistol he has does not hold 10 or 15 shots. One of the bad guys points this out, something like "We should rush him! He doesn't have enough bullets to kill us all!" Steve replies "That's right, I can't kill you all, but who wants to volunteer to be first?!?" or words to that effect.

So in essence the idea is that of one entity that could overwhelm, defy or escape another entity through attrition, but no one in the thwarting group wants to be the first to suffer the threat, so the victims remain victims.

I'm sure there's a word or phrase that describes this concept (in the way that "Mexican Standoff", or "Mutually Assured Destruction" describe their respective concepts), but I can't think of what it would be. Help, please?

Peter Principle on
"A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_

Posts

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It's a collective action problem.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I like the phrase Polish Parliament better for that situation since the impasse is created by a single member holding veto-power (in this case, a gun), but it's not in common usage to the degree that Mexican Standoff is.

    edit: although if we were looking at this question from the side of the Nazis at the other end of the pistol, they'd almost certainly be familiar with the phrase Polish Parliament.

  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.
    SammyF wrote: »
    I like the phrase Polish Parliament better for that situation since the impasse is created by a single member holding veto-power (in this case, a gun), but it's not in common usage to the degree that Mexican Standoff is.

    edit: although if we were looking at this question from the side of the Nazis at the other end of the pistol, they'd almost certainly be familiar with the phrase Polish Parliament.

    I don't think that quite gets it either, since it's not that everyone in a Polish Parliment is afraid to act that causes the lack of action. It doesn't even have to describe a conflict situation, does it?
    JebusHD wrote:
    It's a collective action problem.

    I think that's it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_action_problem#Collective_action_problem

    Seems like there would be some catchy, colloquial phrase associated with the concept.

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.

    I'm sure there's a description of a problem like this somewhere in game theory, but the answer isn't immediately springing to mind.

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.

    Think of the group as a hive mind of sorts. So you basically still only have two entities. It doesn't matter that they don't have a gun, they can still overpower the gun toter but at a grievous loss of life. So still, neither side wins. Mexican Standoff.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I don't think steve martin's decision really comes into play here either.

    Its really all about the nazi's. No one wants to move first.

    #someshit
  • Judge Joe BrownJudge Joe Brown Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Prisoner's Dilemma of sorts

    /economist

  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah Mexican standoff doesn't fit. I do think there's a term for it. Jebus is on the right track w/ collective action.

    steam_sig.png
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I think it's a Nash equilibrium in that all of the players involved (each individual hostage as well as the hostage takers) are all aware of the strategies taken by the other players, and no individual player has anything to gain by changing his own strategy unilaterally. The hostage taker can't start shooting hostages because he has an insufficient amount of force to kill them all, and whichever hostages survive will overpower and kill him. The hostages individually can't rush the hostage taker because for each one there is a possibility they'll be killed; whereas if they don't rush the hostage taker, for each there is a 100% chance of survival because they know the hostage taker can't begin indiscriminately killing hostages without assuring that the survivors will kill him.

    Collective action problem does also work very well.

  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.

    Think of the group as a hive mind of sorts. So you basically still only have two entities. It doesn't matter that they don't have a gun, they can still overpower the gun toter but at a grievous loss of life. So still, neither side wins. Mexican Standoff.

    I still don't think that's the right concept, that doesn't take into account the force disparity. In a mexican standoff, both sides are equally inhibited; in this thing, only one side is intimidated.

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • Judge Joe BrownJudge Joe Brown Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Stalemate is pretty succinct too, but doesn't encapsulate the nuances of this particular situation.

    As mentioned though, this could be graphed into a nash equilibrium. (a fairly complex one, as there are many different outcomes with this many players)

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.

    Think of the group as a hive mind of sorts. So you basically still only have two entities. It doesn't matter that they don't have a gun, they can still overpower the gun toter but at a grievous loss of life. So still, neither side wins. Mexican Standoff.

    I still don't think that's the right concept, that doesn't take into account the force disparity. In a mexican standoff, both sides are equally inhibited; in this thing, only one side is intimidated.

    This is untrue: if the hostage taker unilaterally changes his strategy and begins firing on the hostages, the hostages are no longer disincentivized from rushing him. Regardless of who specifically survives the resulting conflict, he will certainly not be among them.

    Which returns me to why I think Nash equilibrium is the best description if we include the hostage taker as one of the players and not part of the game.

  • Judge Joe BrownJudge Joe Brown Registered User
    edited February 2011
    The only thing I can think of that makes a Nash equilibrium not work is that we don't know whose turn it is to act. Strict rules are necessary to define a proper equilibrium.

    EDIT: Knowing whose turn it is specifically isn't as important as the fact that whoever acts first changes the entire equilibrium. Maybe it could be described with two.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The only thing I can think of that makes a Nash equilibrium not work is that we don't know whose turn it is to act. Strict rules are necessary to define a proper equilibrium.

    EDIT: Knowing whose turn it is specifically isn't as important as the fact that whoever acts first changes the entire equilibrium. Maybe it could be described with two.

    Fair point. I sort of assumed that it was a hostage's turn to act given the question Steve Martin apparently asked, but that's an assumption.

  • Judge Joe BrownJudge Joe Brown Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Yeah. This reminds me of the time I asked my mother what you'd call a situation where you had 5 tasks to complete, but only completing them in a certain order would allow you to complete them in an allotted time (start boiling the noodles before starting the beef sorta thing).

    She said there wasn't a word for it specifically. It's just effective time management. I still hate that there isn't actually a single word I can use to describe it. :)

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah. This reminds me of the time I asked my mother what you'd call a situation where you had 5 tasks to complete, but only completing them in a certain order would allow you to complete them in an allotted time (start boiling the noodles before starting the beef sorta thing).

    She said there wasn't a word for it specifically. It's just effective time management. I still hate that there isn't actually a single word I can use to describe it. :)
    Computer task scheduling disciplines might have a close fit for that kind of scenario.

    steam_sig.png
  • SeolSeol Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah. This reminds me of the time I asked my mother what you'd call a situation where you had 5 tasks to complete, but only completing them in a certain order would allow you to complete them in an allotted time (start boiling the noodles before starting the beef sorta thing).

    She said there wasn't a word for it specifically. It's just effective time management. I still hate that there isn't actually a single word I can use to describe it. :)
    Dependency planning?

  • Judge Joe BrownJudge Joe Brown Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Thought I'd finally closed that chapter in my life. Thanks guys. ;)

    Back on topic!

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It's not a mexican standoff because one side eventually will win. A mexican standoff doesn't mean one side takes losses and wins, it means both sides lose.

    A collective action problem is what it is for the guys against the wall, but we don't really have a popular phrase that encapsulates what a collective action problem is (other than tragedy of the commons I guess, but that isn't really in common use either and isn't a great description for this situation.) Not only that, just saying 'collective action problem' doesn't really include the gunman in the scope of the term.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    if the rapture don't come cousin, then pass the guns
    I'll burn'em for the return of my investment funds
  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited February 2011
    SammyF wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.

    Think of the group as a hive mind of sorts. So you basically still only have two entities. It doesn't matter that they don't have a gun, they can still overpower the gun toter but at a grievous loss of life. So still, neither side wins. Mexican Standoff.

    I still don't think that's the right concept, that doesn't take into account the force disparity. In a mexican standoff, both sides are equally inhibited; in this thing, only one side is intimidated.

    This is untrue: if the hostage taker unilaterally changes his strategy and begins firing on the hostages, the hostages are no longer disincentivized from rushing him. Regardless of who specifically survives the resulting conflict, he will certainly not be among them.

    Sure, but the hostage taker doesn't necessarily want to kill everyone. I think one of the defining characteristics of this situation is that the hostage taking faction isn't being intimidated. They are getting whatever it is that they want: "Walk down that hall!" "Do not oppose my regime!" "Pay your taxes!". The hostages aren't exerting any leverage on the hostage taker. They could, but they don't as a group because no one individual wants to be the first to suffer the consequences of disobedience.

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    That depends on a lot of factors, though. The fact that they aren't, at this moment, rushing the gunman doesn't mean they don't have any leverage. It's just that the gunman is (probably) already accounting for it in his behavior, so it isn't explicitly negotiated.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    if the rapture don't come cousin, then pass the guns
    I'll burn'em for the return of my investment funds
  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited February 2011
    That depends on a lot of factors, though. The fact that they aren't, at this moment, rushing the gunman doesn't mean they don't have any leverage. It's just that the gunman is (probably) already accounting for it in his behavior, so it isn't explicitly negotiated.

    If they do attack the hostage taker, it's no longer that situation. Similarly, it's a mexican standoff as long as no one fires. Once the bullets start flying, it's not a standoff anymore.

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    You know, "hostage situation" sounds pretty succinct to me. Other options for a colloquial phrase include a Vladimir Lenin quote: "One man with a gun can control 100 without one." (could be apocryphal, who knows?)

    Steam ID: Hahnsoo, Steam Name currently: Hahnsopolis | PSN: Hahnsoo | Monster Hunter Tri: Hahnsoo, E8HJCA
  • BackBack Registered User
    edited February 2011
    This reminds me of my favorite scene from the movie Attack the Gas Station. It's another good example.

    Teenagers are held hostage at a gas station by an unarmed, not-very-smart but strong man. The hostages start whispering to each other "there's 7 of us and one of him, we can take him". One of hostages asks the man "What do you do when you get attacked by several people at once?".

    He replies (im proably misquoting a lot): I only attack one. I was once attacked by five guys with bats and knives. I picked just one at random, knocked him down and started bashing his face in *makes face-bashing gestures* until he was almost dead. The other ones were hitting me and stabbing me but I kept bashing and bashing this one guy until you couldn't recognize his face. Eventually the others stopped attacking and just begged me to stop hitting him"

    The hostages swallowed their saliva and decided to not go forward with the plan.

    The scene in question at 9 minutes 7 seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqvw2HDZWxA&t=9m7s

  • CyberJackalCyberJackal Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I would say it's some sort of variation on the idea of deterrence... It's definitely not a Mexican Standoff.

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    A "Dirty Harry" moment? It's a similar kind of tension to the "Do I feel lucky?" scene. Except in Dirty Harry, the punk tries something and gets shot anyway. And there isn't a group that can overwhelm the gunman when the gunman runs out of bullets. Tricky.

    Steam ID: Hahnsoo, Steam Name currently: Hahnsopolis | PSN: Hahnsoo | Monster Hunter Tri: Hahnsoo, E8HJCA
  • wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Maybe do a twist on mutually assured destruction?

    "A situation in which assured destruction is matched against just possible destruction can create a stalemate on par with a mutually assured destruction scenario."

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    SammyF wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.

    Think of the group as a hive mind of sorts. So you basically still only have two entities. It doesn't matter that they don't have a gun, they can still overpower the gun toter but at a grievous loss of life. So still, neither side wins. Mexican Standoff.

    I still don't think that's the right concept, that doesn't take into account the force disparity. In a mexican standoff, both sides are equally inhibited; in this thing, only one side is intimidated.

    This is untrue: if the hostage taker unilaterally changes his strategy and begins firing on the hostages, the hostages are no longer disincentivized from rushing him. Regardless of who specifically survives the resulting conflict, he will certainly not be among them.

    Sure, but the hostage taker doesn't necessarily want to kill everyone. I think one of the defining characteristics of this situation is that the hostage taking faction isn't being intimidated. They are getting whatever it is that they want: "Walk down that hall!" "Do not oppose my regime!" "Pay your taxes!". The hostages aren't exerting any leverage on the hostage taker. They could, but they don't as a group because no one individual wants to be the first to suffer the consequences of disobedience.

    That depends on a lot of factors, though. The fact that they aren't, at this moment, rushing the gunman doesn't mean they don't have any leverage. It's just that the gunman is (probably) already accounting for it in his behavior, so it isn't explicitly negotiated.

    If they do attack the hostage taker, it's no longer that situation. Similarly, it's a mexican standoff as long as no one fires. Once the bullets start flying, it's not a standoff anymore.


    See, I think maybe the analogy between whatever it is your paper or project is actually about and the movie scene your comparing it to may be imperfect because your original question didn't really have anything to do with compelled orders like paying taxes or anything of that nature. And it seems like you're simultaneously expanding the problem to incorporate a bunch of new interests and choices for the hostage taker while narrowing the definition of the problem to include only a single valid choice for the hostages, which is apparently compliance.

  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited February 2011
    SammyF wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    I think Mexican Standoff still applies here as it's a situation that neither side can win.

    I don't know, they seem different. A "Mexican Standoff" is a situation where both sides have more or less equal force. What's inhibiting aggression is that both parties know an initial use of force will result in an equal response from the other actor, so neither acts.

    For this concept I'm wondering about, there is force assymetry. Only one side has the gun, the power to arrest, state military backing, whatevs. They may even use it, even frequently (which wouldn't happen in a Mexican Standoff) It's just that the force can't be applied to the entire group, and it is the disinclination to be the ablative protection for the rest of the group that keeps everyone in line.

    Think of the group as a hive mind of sorts. So you basically still only have two entities. It doesn't matter that they don't have a gun, they can still overpower the gun toter but at a grievous loss of life. So still, neither side wins. Mexican Standoff.

    I still don't think that's the right concept, that doesn't take into account the force disparity. In a mexican standoff, both sides are equally inhibited; in this thing, only one side is intimidated.

    This is untrue: if the hostage taker unilaterally changes his strategy and begins firing on the hostages, the hostages are no longer disincentivized from rushing him. Regardless of who specifically survives the resulting conflict, he will certainly not be among them.

    Sure, but the hostage taker doesn't necessarily want to kill everyone. I think one of the defining characteristics of this situation is that the hostage taking faction isn't being intimidated. They are getting whatever it is that they want: "Walk down that hall!" "Do not oppose my regime!" "Pay your taxes!". The hostages aren't exerting any leverage on the hostage taker. They could, but they don't as a group because no one individual wants to be the first to suffer the consequences of disobedience.

    That depends on a lot of factors, though. The fact that they aren't, at this moment, rushing the gunman doesn't mean they don't have any leverage. It's just that the gunman is (probably) already accounting for it in his behavior, so it isn't explicitly negotiated.

    If they do attack the hostage taker, it's no longer that situation. Similarly, it's a mexican standoff as long as no one fires. Once the bullets start flying, it's not a standoff anymore.


    See, I think maybe the analogy between whatever it is your paper or project is actually about and the movie scene your comparing it to may be imperfect because your original question didn't really have anything to do with compelled orders like paying taxes or anything of that nature.

    Obviously if someone is using leverage against someone else they want that other person to do something, even it's very simplistic like "Nobody move!" I'm fairly sure Steve Martin's character said that at one point in the scene while pointing the pistol at the bad guys. I didn't mention it originally, but I thought it would be assumed.
    And it seems like you're simultaneously expanding the problem to incorporate a bunch of new interests and choices for the hostage taker while narrowing the definition of the problem to include only a single valid choice for the hostages, which is apparently compliance.

    Well, yes. That's the the general idea I'm trying to describe. Group A has power of some sort over Group B, and A wants B to do something. A's power is limited. A can't affect everyone in B, but they can affect some in B. Everyone in B does what A says, because no one in B wants to be the first target.

    I'm pretty sure I mentioned this in the OP.

    And it's not expansion, it's just recognition that it doesn't have to be an overt combat or violence situation for a term to apply, even if that's the origin. If two neighbors are threatening to sue if the other sues them, but neither does because they don't want to get sued, that's also a mexican standoff. They're pointing lawyers at each other, not guns, but the concept is the same.

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • bobmyknobbobmyknob Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'd also pitch in that this is a free rider problem, no one wants to be first, since each person figures that someone else will go. Related to the prisoner's dilemma as mentioned before.

    camo_sig2.png
  • Judge Joe BrownJudge Joe Brown Registered User
    edited February 2011
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang

    "In game theory, it specifically means that it directly changes the outcome of the game from a win to a loss. The term is used less precisely in games such as chess; i.e., the game theory definition is not necessarily used in chess (Berlekamp, Conway & Guy 1982:16), (Elkies 1996:136). For instance, it may be defined loosely as "a player to move cannot do anything without making an important concession" (van Perlo 2006:479). Zugzwang is a common technique to help the superior side win a game and sometimes it is necessary to make the win possible (Müller & Pajeken 2008:173)."

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Obviously if someone is using leverage against someone else they want that other person to do something, even it's very simplistic like "Nobody move!" I'm fairly sure Steve Martin's character said that at one point in the scene while pointing the pistol at the bad guys. I didn't mention it originally, but I thought it would be assumed.

    Well then you're going to have to open your scenario to include a lot of different possible choices and outcomes once you open all of this up to other interests because the leverage of the hostages increases. If he says something like, "pay your taxes!" (since you brought it up), that adds a new set of choices to the mix on the part of the hostages: they can now rush the hostage taker, they can not rush the hostage taker and pay their taxes, or they can opt not to rush the hostage taker but also opt not to pay their taxes. Because it's not in the interest of Steve Martin to begin firing on the hostages (because it will inevitably result in his death once his ammunition is depleted), they can win by refusing to play the game.

    It's not actually any sort of a standoff at all in that case, which is why again I'm going to posit the suggestion that it may be an imperfect metaphor for whatever it is you're actually writing about.

  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited February 2011
    SammyF wrote: »
    Obviously if someone is using leverage against someone else they want that other person to do something, even it's very simplistic like "Nobody move!" I'm fairly sure Steve Martin's character said that at one point in the scene while pointing the pistol at the bad guys. I didn't mention it originally, but I thought it would be assumed.

    Well then you're going to have to open your scenario to include a lot of different possible choices

    Ok, that doesn't even make sense in context. The scenario is what it is. It's like you're saying "Well, in a mexican standoff, one guy could run away, or he could set his gun down and show the other guy he means no harm, or he could jump behind a wall. There are many different choices." Sure, but as soon as something else besides two guys pointing guns at each other happens, it's not a mexican standoff anymore.

    And yes, the nazis could do all sorts of creative problem solving things, but once the conditions change then it's no longer a [nash equilibrium/zugzwang/whatever that situation is].

    And I'm only using "pay your taxes" to illustrate that the situation could involve other forms of coercion.
    According to the liberarians, a tax revolt could force the us government to its knees, and we'd live in a free market utopia etc etc, but no one individual wants to be the first to piss off the IRS.

    Again, it's two groups. Group A can realistically do something to some, but not all, of Group B. Group A makes a demand of some sort. If Group B defied Group A as a whole, B would win. However, Group B complies as a whole because no individual in Group B wants to be shot/imprisoned/sued/whatever.

    I hope that makes things clear because I just don't know how to explain it any more plainly than that.

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Was the movie "The Three Amigos" ?

  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited February 2011
    I think it was "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid", but I'm not certain. I saw the movie a looooong time ago.

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • CyberJackalCyberJackal Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It's "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid". I remember the scene you're referring to.

Sign In or Register to comment.