In this game, regardless of what the opponent chooses, each player always receives a higher payoff by betraying; that is to say that betraying is the strictly dominant strategy. For instance, Prisoner A can accurately say, “No matter what Prisoner B does, I personally am better off betraying than staying silent. Therefore, for my own sake, I should betray.” However, if the other player acts similarly, then they both betray and both get a lower payoff than they would get by staying silent. Rational self-interested decisions result in each prisoner’s being worse off. Hence it seems a dilemma.
In all game theory, the only concern of each individual player (“prisoner”) is maximizing his/her own payoff, without any concern for the other player’s payoff. So rational choice leads the two players to both play defect even though each player’s individual reward would be greater if they both played cooperately. In political science, for instance, the PD scenario is often used to illustrate the problem of two states engaged in an arms race. Both will reason that they have two options, either to increase military expenditure or to make an agreement to reduce weapons. Neither state can be certain that the other one will keep to such an agreement; therefore, they both incline towards military expansion. The paradox is that both states are acting rationally, but producing an apparently irrational result.
Now you see the limit of human fairness in our logical thinking. As we know, when we think of free trade market that is beneficial for us to have cheaper products, at the same time we are suffering from losing jobs in the states. As I went to Nicaragua, I witnessed the different mechanism of trade, that is, fair trade. Millions of hard-working people around the world are living in extreme poverty though no fault of their own. They simply lack access to the information, services and infrastructure they need to participate as equals in the global economy. As a result, they are not earning their fair share of the wealth created by free trade. Fair trade is based on the principle that people should earn a fair profit for the items they produce. Fair trade guarantees fair wages to disadvantaged farmers and workers. It provides access to the technical and financial assistance that poor people so desperately need and so rarely get in the conventional trading system. Most importantly, fair trade challenges us to get to know these producers and to make conscious and better choices every day as consumers to make the trading system work better for our brothers and sisters overseas. That’s why some of us pay a little more for fair trade coffee, not following logical self-interest but concerning the poor and making the difference in the world.
I believe this is moving toward God’s fairness by concerning the marginalized, the unemployed, and the poor not because of their fault. The workers who stood outside idle all day in the gospel are a vulnerable group we have to take care of. This is the kingdom of heaven where no one is excluded. But we on earth are weak and selfish, fearing of not getting what we deserve, because the world has taught us what’s fair to us is good, otherwise it’s not. We can see if the owner of the vineyard went out at 5:30PM, and found even more stays still without work. ‘Get going,’ he said. And they went. At the end of the day the 5:30 group got the same as the 5PM group. The 5PM group grumbled and joined ranks with the first-hired laborers. Honestly, it depends on whose ox is being gored.
We need to admit human weakness in comparative thinking, being more conscious of God’s different view in the kingdom of heaven. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways God’s ways. The generous owner of the vineyard promises to pay the usual daily wage for all of us, not distinguishing the good and the bad, the efficient and the poor. God sustains us day by day, providing daily bread that we pray for everyday. God does not give more and God does not give less. Only human being tries to save some for tomorrow, not trusting God’s providence, like our ancestors in the desert who saved the manna for the following day but it became stale.
We have to say that we no longer live in the envious world of comparison but in the abundant world of God’s goodness. This is the Lord’s vineyard and we are called to work as laborer not owner. That’s why Pope Benedict’s first saying when he was elected pope touched many hearts: “I am a simple and humble laborer in the Lord’s vineyard.” We have no right to decide who comes in the Lord’s vineyard.
Here is sad news that we need to think about. In the early hours of May 12 this year, hundreds of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents under Homeland Security led by Iowa State troopers raided the town’s meat-processing plant and arrested 400 workers. And then the detainees were transported and fitted with black GPS ankle bracelets. About 60 mothers still in shock were released to take care of their children, wearing the big GPS monitor on their ankles, leaving their husbands in the prison. Meanwhile, several hundred family members sought refuge in the church as rumors of more raids swept the community. By the end of the week, 260 persons had been charged and convicted of criminal use of false IDs and were headed to federal prisons out of state to serve five-months sentences, which would be followed by deportation. On Sep. 10, the US bishops made a statement, asking to reexamine the use of worksite enforcement raids as an immigration enforcement tool. The bishops recognize the right and duty of the government to enforce immigration laws. But the worksite enforcement raid, involving hundreds of law enforcement officials using weapons, are ineffective and, most importantly, inhumane. To me, once the country of immigrants from all over the world to nurture the Lord’s vineyard in the land of North America was, now it persecutes other immigrants because they come late.