zero-sum game

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zero-sum game

[′zir·ō ¦səm ‚gām]
(mathematics)
A two-person game where the sum of the payoffs to the two players is zero for each move.

zero-sum game

any game or analogous social situation in which what one player or side loses the other gains (Von Neumann and Morgenstein, 1947). See also THEORY OF GAMES, PRISONERS’ DILEMMA.
References in periodicals archive ?
As economic historian John Nye has pointed out, even if competition for relative position is a zero-sum game, the increase in total wealth created by the productive investments of the wealthy benefits the poor.
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California, said politics lately has become a zero-sum game.
People recognized the zero-sum nature of constant conflict.
Indeed, the other crucial ingredient in a successful, long-term banking relationship is an understanding that it can't be structured as a zero-sum game, where one side's gain is the other side's loss.
Affirmative action, for example, is a zero-sum game, in which what is at stake is relative social status (attending a first-tier university rather than a second-tier university) as much as absolute goods like income.
London, May 20 (ANI): Rejecting Australian Defence White Paper's claims that the US supremacy is fading in the Asia-Pacific region, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the US did not see the rise of China as "a zero-sum game" which would inevitably leave America weakened.
Purple California gets smothered in the zero-sum game of winner-take-all elections.
Cut off from daily contact with the weak and the needy, and hypnotized by the zero-sum ethic of televised sports, men were bound to be seduced by the social Darwinism of the political right," wrote Ehrenreich.
What makes this an odd oversight is that the book contains a lengthy and rather well-done critique of attempts by local governments to create jobs through investment incentives, arguing that they mainly end up in a zero-sum poaching war; how could the authors have failed to notice the parallel?
The two would not allow the turf-protecting and zero-sum negotiating tendencies of many operating people to get in the way of a fair deal.