Letter To Robert J. Aumann, Co-Winner Of The
Bank Of Sweden Prize In Economic Sciences In Memory Of Alfred Nobel 2005
8 November, 2005.
Dear Professor Aumann,
Re: Your comments on
understanding the essence of war, as reported by Doron Sheffer in 'Israel is
choking its scientists,' YnetNews, 10-Oct-05,
You are quoted as saying
"War is not irrational, it is actually the
most stable thing . . . Our goal is to research its rationality and its
reasons, and that's what we do in game theory. We'll only know how to solve
war if we understand its essence.”
I have a few comments
regarding your comments on understanding the essence of war through game
theory -- and a suggestion for the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew
COVENANT AND MACHIAVELLI’S ADMONITION
If Babylonian and Egyptian
high priests knew about the Americas, would the Covenant of the God of
Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, and Moses have included the landmass from the St.
Lawrence River to the Amazon --, in addition to the landmass from the “river
of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates”? Game theory may well
suggest yes! However, the Covenant requires that Jews obey the Decalog -- in
particular, “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house.” In this connection,
it is worth noting that Herzl, who calculated that “Arabs as are immune from
fever might be employed to do the work” in support of Jewish colonization,
appears to have been ignorant of Machiavelli’s admonition:
"[A prince] must abstain from
taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their
father than the loss of their patrimony.”
Thus, Israel will not know
peace for a long time – the benefits of game theory notwithstanding.
I am familiar with some of
your articles and with the works of Morgenstern, von Neuman, Shubick, Keyney
and Raifa. Game theory, like financial theory, gives the illusion of
understanding. “Calculative” thinking calculates what is “better” -- a loan
or a lease; “reflective” thinking decides against both borrowing and
leasing, as both options are based on “usury,” and “usury” enslaves.
Tanach, Proverbs 22:7: “The
rich rule the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
Kant (Soros’ nemesis), in
an instrument in the struggle among powers, the credit system -- the
ingenious invention of a commercial people [England] during this century --
of endlessly growing debts that remain safe against immediate demand . . .
is a dangerous financial power. It is a war chest exceeding the treasure of
all other nations taken together . . . This ease in making war, combined
with the inclination of those in power to do so . . . is a great obstacle to
perpetual peace. Thus, forbidding foreign debt must be a preliminary article
for perpetual peace."
that the total debt of the U.S. (financial and
non-financial sectors) is currently greater than $37
trillion (see the Z.1 Release at the Federal Reserve
Board), the chances for peace are currently nil.
I respectfully suggest that
you, and your students at the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew
University, start following Heidegger’s advice: It is not enough to
calculate, you must reflect.
Heidegger, in The Principle
of Reason: "If this is the way it's going to be, may we give up what is
worthy of thought in favor of the recklessness of exclusively calculative
thinking and its immense achievements? Or are we obliged to find paths upon
which thinking is capable of responding to what is worthy of thought instead
of, enchanted by calculative thinking, mindlessly passing over what is
worthy of thought?"
Dr. Edward E. Ayoub
The Holy Bible.
The Old Testament. King James Version. London, England: Collins'
Clear-Type Press, 1957.
of Theodor Herzl.
Edited and Translated with an Introduction by Marvin Lowenthal.
The Dial Press, Inc., 1956. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1978.
Prince (1531). Translated by Luigi Ricci. Revised by E.R.P. Vincent. Introduction by
Christian Gauss. New York, NY: The New American Library of World Literature, Inc.,
1952. (Reprint of a hardcover edition published by Oxford University Press, Inc.)
Immanuel Kant. To Perpetual Peace: A
Philosophical Sketch (1795). Essay included in Immanuel
Kant, Perpetual Peace and Other Essays on Politics, History, and
Moral Practice. Translated with an Introduction by Ted Humphrey.
Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1983, at
Flow of Funds
Accounts of the United States, 21-Sep-05.
Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve System.
[D3. Debt Outstanding by
Martin Heidegger. The
Principle of Reason. Translated by Reginald Lilly.
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991, at 129.