Shubik. “Almost certainly, ‘physical’ aspects of theories of social order will not simply recapitulate existing theories in physics.”16

Yet there are areas of overlap, they note, and “striking empirical regularities suggest that at least some social order … is perhaps predictable from first principles.” The role of markets in setting prices, allocating resources, and creating social institutions involves “concepts of efficiency or optimality in satisfying human desires.” In economics, the tool for gauging efficiency and optimality in satisfying human desires is game theory. In physics, analogous concepts correspond to physical systems treated with statistical mechanical math. The question now is whether that analogy is powerful enough to produce something like Asimov’s psychohistory, a statistical physics approach to forecasting human social interaction, a true Code of Nature.

One possible weakness in the analogy between physics and game theory, though, is that physics is more than just statistical mechanics. Physics is supposed to be the science of physical reality, and physical reality is described by the weird (yet wonderful) mathematics of quantum mechanics. If the physics–game theory connection runs deep, there should be a quantum connection as well. And there is.



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