The Bold Type is one of a rare feel-good feminist TV shows. I was touched by how strong women supporting each other. Jacqueline, the editor in chief of Scarlet magazine, is the boss every woman wished to have. We, woman, can grow without jealousy, cat fights, and dirty tricks. The more I watch the movie the more it reminds me of The Prisoner's Dilemma.
To recall what The Prisoner's Dilemma is, let me introduce two criminals caught by the police: Bonnie and Clyde. Given the lack of evidence, police separated them in different rooms with an deal:
"Right now, we can lock you up for 1 year. If you confess to the bank robbery and implicate your partner, however, we will give you immunity and you can go free. Your partner will get 20 years in jail. But if you both confess to the crime, we won't need your testimony and we can avoid the cost of trial, so you can each get the intermediate sentence for 8 year" (Mankiw, 2008). We can have the pay off table for Bonnie and Clyde as follows:
Instead of believing with their teammate, both Clyde and Bonnie chose to confess given the lack of information on the other's decision and their self-interest nature. The two left with 8 year sentences and missed the optimal options. Here is their thinking process:
Imagine we are all in the game of life, The prisoner's dilemma taught us cooperation yield at optimal choice. It is hard and against our nature to put others first. I'm selfish too. And hey, that is the reason why neo classical economics remains legit. We, as economics learners, have found a way to outsmart The Prisoner's Dilemma. Let me be the first mover by rationally say: I'm here supporting you :)
P.S. For movie junkies out there who want to see Prisoner's Dilemma in a less formal context, this is my favorite bar scene from A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Mankiw, N. G. (2008). Principles of microeconomics. Toronto: Nelson Thomson Learning