Self induced class stratification in competitive societies of agents: Nash stability in the presence of envy

25 May 2020  ·  Gros Claudius ·

Envy, the inclination to compare rewards, can be expected to unfold when inequalities in terms of payoff differences are generated in competitive societies. It is shown that increasing levels of envy lead inevitably to a self-induced separation into a lower and an upper class... Class stratification is Nash stable and strict, with members of the same class receiving identical rewards. Upper class agents play exclusively pure strategies, all lower class agents the same mixed strategy. The fraction of upper class agents decreases progressively with larger levels of envy, until a single upper class agent is left. Numerical simulations and a complete analytic treatment of a basic reference model, the shopping trouble model, are presented. The properties of the class-stratified society are universal and only indirectly controllable through the underlying utility function, which implies that class stratified societies are intrinsically resistant to political control. Implications for human societies are discussed. It is pointed out that the repercussions of envy are amplified when societies become increasingly competitive. read more

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Physics and Society Adaptation and Self-Organizing Systems