zero sum game

Bud Fox: How much is enough?
Gordon Gekko: It’s not a question of enough, pal. It’s a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn’t lost or made, it’s simply transferred from one perception to another.

In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which a participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. Thus cutting a cake, where taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others, is a zero-sum game if all participants value each unit of cake equally (see marginal utility). In contrast, non–zero sum describes a situation in which the interacting parties’ aggregate gains and losses are either less than or more than zero. A zero-sum game is also called a strictly competitive game while non–zero-sum games can be either competitive or non-competitive. Zero-sum games are most often solved with the minimax theorem which is closely related to linear programming duality,[1] or with Nash equilibrium.

Zero-Sum Game

Cooperative and Non-Cooperative Games

In game theory, a non-cooperative game is one in which players make decisions independently. Thus, while players could cooperate, any cooperation must be self-enforcing.
A game in which players can enforce contracts through third parties is a cooperative game.

Nash equilibrium


CAP theorem
“Consistency (every read receives the most recent write or an error)
Availability (every request receives a response, without guarantee that it contains the most recent version of the information)
Partition tolerance (the system continues to operate despite arbitrary partitioning due to network failures)”


Game Theory: The Science of Decision-Making