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Physics Breakthrough Disproves Fundamental Assumptions of the Chicago School

Cortelyou C. Kenney
Mar 2023
Classical law and economics is foundational to the American legal system.Centered at the University of Chicago, its assumptions, most especially thathumans act both rationally and selfishly, informs the thinking of legislatures,judges, and government lawyers, and has shaped nearly every aspect of the waycommercial transactions are conducted. But what if the Chicago School, as Irefer to this line of thinking, is wrong? Alternative approaches such asbehavioral law and economics or law and political economy contend that humandecisionmaking is based on emotions or should not be regulated as a socialgeometry of bargains. This Article proposes a different and wholly novel reasonthat the Chicago School is wrong: a fundamental assumption central to many ofits game theory models has been disproven. This Article shows that a 2012breakthrough from world famous physicist Freeman Dyson shocked the world ofgame theory. This Article shows that Chicago School game theorists are wrong ontheir own terms because these 2 x 2 games such as the Prisoner's Dilemma,Chicken, and Snowdrift, ostensibly based on mutual defection and correctivejustice, in fact yield to an insight of pure cooperation. These new game theorysolutions can be scaled to design whole institutions and systems that honor thepure cooperation insight, holding out the possibility of cracking large scalesocial dilemmas like the tragedy of the commons. It demonstrates that, in suchsystems, pure cooperation is the best answer in the right environment and inthe long run. It ends by calling for a new legal field to redesign thestructures based on the outdated assumptions of the Chicago School gametheorists.