Game Theory and Madhesi Dilemma
Game Theory and Madhesi Dilemma
The changing political condition in Nepal after Democracy reinstallation through Janandolan – II, has accelerated the political debate in different issues of Nepal. One issue, that no major political party wants to discuss full hearty at the moment is the Madhesis and their different rights. Among the different issues of madhesis, the highly debated is whether madhesis should be given right to rule themselves?
There are many supporting arguments and counter arguments from all section of society. Starting with the counter argument, people doubt about the very concept of restructuring of state and dilution of central power in small country like Nepal. The next set of people is not against restructure but argues against restructuring based on caste, creed, culture, and language basis. Some other set of people are totally against giving any kind of rights to any other people other than khas-brahmin. But whatever they argue, may be they have their own assumptions and logic behind each theories, the problems do not seem to be vanishing.
Trying to see this problem in Game theory perspective, one will get some quantitative and scientific insight about the people dynamics in the state politics. The prison’s dilemma theory of game theory says that, if one prison has any doubt on his/her counter-part giving confession to police, then game theory suggests never ever believe on your counter-part behavior. The model says that, in this condition, if you take decision giving priority to individual benefit, then the pay-off you get is always greater than other party. Strategist suggests, always think for individual benefit, and do not work for collective profit, when in doubt about cooperation from companion.
Game Theory – The Classic Game is Prisoners’ Dilemma
Given the current strain condition between madhesis and paharis, it’s very difficult to trust each other. One may, for assurance sake, argue any thing. But the real fact is, paharis had shown no fate on madhesis since last more than 260 years. As a result of which, madhesis could not find any responsibility in state defense, diplomacy, administration, and government representation. On the other hand, madhesi experience of paharis attitude and behavior for last 260 years has made them perceive this attitude as colonial strategy of pahari, which madhesi is not willing to accept any more. Breaking the deadlock of last 260, madhesis are asking right to rule themselves.
Explaining in term of Prisoner’s dilemma, madhesis are also facing dilemma. Madhesi’s are not able to make strategy for future course, whether they should maintain status-quo or march forward for non-cooperation. Applying Game theory, one can predict that, the outcome will be the strategy for protecting individual interest. Madhesi and pahari, each one will apply individual rationality, and thus will maximize individual pay-off. In the condition of mutual doubt, the resulting outcome is no-cooperation with each other, ultimately resulting in a more strain which can finally lead to a political and geographical line between madhesis and paharis.
The local version of game theory is also quite common. It is said that, 1 and 1 when comes together, can make power of 11. But, it is only possible if both of them work and cooperate with each other. But if any group betrays, then there will be unequal division of pay-off, i.e one group taking more that 5.5 point of pay-off from power. This is where discontent arises. If the suppressed group continues to get less than 5.5 point of pay-off from power, the relationship will not last longer.
This is the condition between madhesis and paharis right now. Paharis want to take more share of pay-off, where as the relationship is believed to be on equality basis. Now even if madhesis is getting some pay-off on investment of 1 but is less than 5.5 point of pay-off from power, madhesis will not want to be in relationship any further.
The above two concept explains to most extend, the strategy madhesis will adopt further. State restructuring will be the minimum and first step in this direction. Given that majority madhesis are distributed along a specific geography, state restructuring will only ensure of regional administrative equality, but other issues that will be left are participation in state defense, diplomatic and central resource planning & distribution.
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