Difference Between Using Force or Paying

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What is the difference between using force or paying? If I offer money to McDonald’s, am I forcing Mcdonald to give me a burger? From a game-theoretical perspective yes. I am basically threatening McDonald of not paying if I don’t get my burgers.

In fact, game theory doesn’t really differentiate between paying and forcing. Those are treated as outcomes.

You do strategies that make the others better off if they do stuff that makes you better off.

This is not new. Most mathematicians see gambling, insurance, and investments as gambling. We don’t differentiate things that others vaguely differentiate.

Things get even more complicated when governments get involved. Imagine the government fining people $5k for not having children. Does government force people to have children? Well, if I don’t I am fined and punished.

Things get even more complicated when governments get involved. Imagine the government fining people $5k for not having children. Does government force people to have children? Well, if I don’t I am fined and punished. So yes, I am being forced, or pressured to have children.

What about, if the government tax everyone $5k and offer $5k for having children. The whole thing is the exact equivalent. Here, when governments do things, we can have two points of view. One point of view is the government is forcing people to have children. Another is the government simply pay people to have children.

Issues get more complicated when we see political deals. Some countries agree to be absorbed by India so it can protect itself from Pakistan. Is that country coerced?

Most people would consider coercion as part of the game in politics and see that the deal is valid. The list can go on and on.

No one chooses your spouse but you can only choose singles. You are “free” to pursue happiness but go to jail if you eat MDMA and get rewarded by welfare if you produce children you can’t afford. So how to differentiate force and persuasion and paying?

To what extend one is right and another is wrong? Where’s the limit? I have no idea. Perhaps if the bargaining position is within another’s right it’s called forcing. If the bargaining position is within my right it’s called paying.

If I ask for your wallet so I let you live, I am forcing you. That’s because it’s not within my right to kill you. However, if I offer money to buy a burger then I am paying. It is well within my right not to pay. But what counts as right is also not clear.

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