Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Thomas Schelling, 1921-2016


Thomas Schelling—Nobel laureate in economics, a key figure in the development of modern game theory and strategy, and a pioneer of political-military wargaming—died on Tuesday at the age of 95. You’ll find his New York Times obituary here.

Wargamers will be especially interested in his contribution “Red vs. Blue?” to Pat Harrigan and Matthew Kirschenbaum, eds. Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming (2016). The chapter is based on an earlier talk he gave to the 2014 Connections wargaming conference.

It is also well worth reading Crisis Games 27 Years Later: Plus c’est déjà vua RAND reproduction of a lengthy 1964 exchange of internal communications between Robert Levine, Thomas Schelling, and William Jones on the strengths and weaknesses of crisis games as an experiential and analytical tool. Levine is skeptical and cautious, while Schelling (as in his chapter referenced above) argues they have considerable value when used properly.

2 responses to “Thomas Schelling, 1921-2016

  1. Donald A. Dade 15/12/2016 at 3:49 pm

    Several years ago, I began reading “Arms and Influence” with the intention of using a highlighter so that I could go back and really internalize the most profound points he hit upon. At first, it became inconvenient because I would often have to highlight the same location on the opposite side of the page and the ink would seep through, but later I realized that there is no point in such a process when it would have been less work to instead highlight the parts that WEREN’T profound. More so that anyone, he inspired in me the interest in Strategic Thinking. RIP.

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