The math of war or peace

A proper equation for determining whether to go to war or not would look approximately like this:
 (An egoistical decisionmaker would go to war if the equation is true.)

I didn't get the formula right 100%, but I suppose it's close enough to convey the idea.  This calculation is impossible to make, for one cannot even imagine all possible scenarios, much less determine their probability and weigh them accordingly. The human brain simply doesn't work like that, it's more fuzzy. We're led by feelings and guesses. Some philosopher once called it the ultimate insult to humans that it's actually our subconsciousness that's in total control of our actions. Our consciousness is more like a commenter. We can consciously understand that decisionmaking would be optimal if we calculated some formula such as the one above, but then our subconsciousness simply does something, whatever that may be.

This is a curious thing, for I suspect that the equation that's really in use is an entirely different one, a two-variable equation. Something close to this:

with Z being between 0 and 1 and representing the decisionmaker's attitude towards risk (risk aversion, risk neutrality or risk taking behaviour).

Maybe some research into this by psychologists and game theorists could provide clarity (honestly, I did not do a dedicated literature research on this beforehand, but I found nothing like this in literature yet).

This could explain a lot (especially the observable marginal importance of costs of warfare on many decisionmakers), and it could clarify a lot for deterrence policies. There would be but two variables that matter; probability of military defeat and the decisionmaker's risk aversion. The problem with aggressors is that the potential defender would most rarely be able to pick the potential aggressor's decisionmaker, of course. Maybe that's why almost everyone seems to emphasise the probability of military success or defeat so very much.


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