Game Theory and Politics

Recent Soviet Views

by Thomas W. Robinson

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Reports research done in 1967 and 1968 on Soviet attempts to apply game theory to international politics. Soviet writings on game theory and politics are hampered by the necessity to adhere to Marxism-Leninism, which limits free intellectual discussion. Soviet scholars attempted in 1964 to free political science from the iron grip of ideology. The campaign failed in late 1967, mostly because the Soviet Communist Party became concerned that political science would seriously undermine its position. By mid-1968, scholars began to separate game theory from political science and instead to link it to sociology. However, Soviet discussion of political applications of game theory was thrown back to the stage of debunking Western applications. It is doubtful whether the Russians will be able to make any substantive contributions until they decide whether they can afford to overcome their own ideological scruples.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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