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[Excerpt] Game theory never did become the theory of choice of those students of industrial conflict weaned on institutional economics, but its wartime connections with students of war and peace are worthy of exploration. It was one of a number of quantitative analyses associated with the emerging breed of behavioral scientists and general systems analysts, true believers who had arrived on the scene when a strange environment enveloped the republic. It was a period of Manichean years. Gods of war ruled public passions. Americans considered themselves locked in a fatal struggle with the forces of evil in Germany, Japan, and then in Soviet Russia. All but a few citizens endorsed the extraordinary centralization of authority by the federal executive. On a scale never reached before, government officials and their experts used theories and quantitative techniques to calculate-and, Jacques Ellul would insist, to think-in an artificial statistical atmosphere. The focus on game theory and its wartime connections may therefore offer useful insights to the place of World War II and the Cold War in the development of analytical theories and methods that became important to a growing number of outstanding students in the field of industrial and labor relations.


Suggested Citation
Korman, G. (1978). Game theory’s wartime connections and the study of industrial conflict [Electronic version]. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 32, 24-39.

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Copyright by Cornell University.