Win/Win vs Win/Lose

I would like bring forth some clarity regarding the basic fundamentals of often-posted concepts.

Note: — My use of Left/Right is NOT describing political spectrum, but sides of an equation; Left side of the Equation/Right side of the Equation)

These fundamentals will face the application of human action to determine consequences.

One such human action, which will be referred to many times, is:
“What is good for a person will be repeated, what is bad for a person will be avoided”

There are two, fundamental methods of exchange.
(1) Win/Lose
(2) Win/Win

These fundamentals created a sub-strata of consequences.

First, Win/Lose.

The Left side gains at the loss of the Right side.

This is commonly also referred to as a “Zero sum game”, but that term is an improper understanding and mis-applied here.

Applying human action, the Right side will avoid this transaction and refuse it.

Thus, to achieve their gain, the Left must use force/violence on the Right to compel the surrender of their goods and enforce their loss.

Fundamental consequences:
– the Right produces less goods for the Left to seize. (Human action of avoidance)
– The Left will use more force/violence to seize an ever-increasing amount of goods. (Human action of success)

Eventually, the Right will resist the Left’s use of force/violence with a response of force/violence of their own.

This will cause either:

(1) A reversal of Left/Right;
– those on the Right of the equation win, and become the Left side, and the Left are caused to submit and become the Right side.

The Win/Lose scenario, however, has not changed fundamentally – only those on whatever side have changed.

Thus, the Win/Lose scenario re-cycles except at a fundamentally degraded state as the economy/society has been damaged by the previous runs of the cycle.

This cyclical flip-flop of sides continues until:

(2) Lose/Lose;
– There are no more goods available to seize (destroyed or lack of production due to avoidance) and the economy/society totally collapses.

Both sides die badly.

Important: Win/Lose always ends badly. Such a bad ending is unavoidable if Win/Lose scenarios are enforced and continued.

Next, Win/Win;

Both sides of the transaction receive a benefit from the exchange.

If one side does not receive a benefit, there is no transactions, a No-Win/No-Win.

This is fallaciously confused (purposely?) by some political advocates as a loss – but it not.

Neither side has lost their goods – they still have exactly what they had before the attempt at exchange. Thus, the concept of “loss” cannot be applied.

This is important because many political advocates will use their fallacy to justify moving the Win/Win scenario consequence of No-Win/No-Win to a Win/Lose circumstance by claiming that the No-win/No-win is a “Lose/Lose”!.

This nefarious intellectual foolery is incredibly dangerous.

Using human action, what is successful will be repeated, thus:
Win/Win scenarios will be repeated by both sides and in great velocity and quantity.

This creates an exponential increase in the prosperity and life style of all sides and hence of the economy and society in general.

Exponential growth here is important, and I will be referring to this.

This is not a factor in the Win/Lose – only one side wants to increase the speed, the other side is applying the brakes. This circumstance creates a linear regression, as already described above.

But when both sides engage in repetition, it is a doubling factor ie: exponential.

A quick understanding of the power of exponential:

-Michigan Stadium is the largest football stadium in the USA.

-I am standing in mid-field with an eye-dropper and you are sitting in the upper most seat of the stadium.

-I squeeze out one drop of water in the first second, two in the second, four in the third, eight in the fifth, and so on … doubling the drops every second.

How long will it take to drown you? (That is, fill the stadium to the top with water?)

Answer: 45 minutes.

Now, you may think that is fast, but the astounding thing about this example is:

At the 40 minute mark, you do not perceive any water in the stadium, it is less than an inch deep at that time. In 5 minutes after that, you’ve drowned.

The point of this lesson is that exponential growth curves have a very long “tail” and then have a sudden, nearly straight up neck. All the “mass” of the growth is back-ended at the neck.

Another quick story helps understand this concept:

Lilies on a lake double their growth every day.

On day 10, the lake is completely covered.

What day was the lake only half covered?

Answer: day 9

Western society has benefited from the exponential growth of Win/Win economics.

The long tail of the exponential nature that started in the mid-18th century has morphed into the “turn of the neck” in the 20th century.

It is this long tail that many political advocates claim offers an example of the “problems of Win/Win economics”, but as exampled, it is their misunderstanding of exponential growth and where the “mass” of that growth accumulates on a curve.

However, they dangerously insist that their misunderstanding is enough justification to introduce Win/Lose economics to “correct” the “mistakes” of Win/Win economics.

Win/Win economics is sustainable indefinitely and exponentially accelerates, creating exponential growth and prosperity for all society.

More fundamental causation:

There exists a number of co-mixing of these two fundamental systems (Win/Win and Win/Lose) – called “mixed” economies. A bit of a discussion here:

All “mixed” economies exist after the long tail of success of a Win/Win economy has achieved the “turn at the neck”.

Any attempt at a mixed economy before the neck undermines the Win/Win exponential growth, and forces the economy into the Win/Lose stagnation and collapse. (Example, Russia)

Thus, the only examples that can exist is one where the Win/Lose economy is substantially introduced after a long success of a Win/Win economy.

Thus, we see in modern economies that started substantially as “Free” market, and after a few centuries became infiltrated with “Planned” market philosophies.

Win/Lose political advocates claim that a Mixed Economy is sustainable, and they are partly right – however, they claim the wrong reason.

They claim the Mixed economy is “successful” on the merits of their political Win/Lose action – that is, on the “success” of violent redistribution of wealth. But on simple fundamental review as provided above, we can see that this is completely untrue.

A Win/Lose policy is linear regressed – straight line regression into stagnation, where Win/Win policy is exponentially positive.

Thus, applying a linear regression to an exponentially positive curve causes the curve to flatten away from the optimum – that is the curve of the neck is less straight up and more flat.

As long as the resulting curve is still positive, the “mixing” is sustainable – albeit at a far lower prosperity to society than if no Win/Lose was introduced.

But applying human action, again, to the “Mixed” scenario.

The advocates of Win/Lose policies continue to see these as successful as society continues to prosper.

As these advocates believe it is their policy which is creating the success (instead of understanding it is degrading it), they demand more of their policies as time goes by.

But here is the fundamental point and problem:

Where Win/Win policy advocates have refused the use of force/violence as part of their policy regime, the Win/Lose advocates demand more force/violence as part of theirs.

Where one policy group refuses violence while another policy group demands the increases of its use will accelerate the application of Win/Lose scenarios in replacing Win/Win scenarios until the exponential growth of Win/Win scenarios is completely undermined.

The system then degrades completely to a Win/Lose scenario.

This outcome was highlighted in the Noble prize winning concepts of Hayek, what he called fatal conceit – that those that advocate for the use of force to “correct” what they see as market failures undermines society because of their conceit and ignorance.

It was my goal to present some basic fundamentals of human systems.

All complex societies are derived from these fundamentals.

When advocates of certain actions within society present their arguments, flush with rhetoric, it is core to address their claims against these fundamentals to make your rational decisions on the merits of their arguments


8 Responses to “Win/Win vs Win/Lose”

  1. Common Man Says:


    This further explains and clarify’s you and JAC’s points relative to the stupidity of our elected representatives, verses my thoughts that they were evil and purposely trying to collapse the whole system. They are still evil and most likely will collapse the whole system, but simply because they are ignorant.

    It also makes the whole issue of government even more fearfull since the great majority, if not all, of the currently seated representatives are for the most part “Win/Lose” driven.

    Since removing all those who promote the Win/Lose is not something likely to happen it sounds as if you are indirectly predicting an economy of continued decline until both sides ‘lose/lose to a point of exhaustion; and then we start over with a hopefully clean slate.


    • Just A Citizen Says:


      Yes, this is part of what we were pointing out. There are other aspects as well but this does capture the primary belief system that makes the rest possible.

      That and adherence to Altruism as a core belief system.

  2. Kent McManigal Says:

    I love this illustration of win/win vs win/lose.

  3. Just A Citizen Says:

    Excellent my Pirate friend.

    The irony of our current state is that years ago the Federal Govt sent me to training on methods to reach “informed consent” on major controversial programs/projects.

    The basis of this method was to find the win/win that was acceptable to both parties. So while the official Govt policies were driven by the concept of finite resources, win/lose, they were paying to train us on using a win/win strategy to resolve disputes, over supposedly finite resources.

    I have always found that humorous. Of course after spending millions to train thousands on this method, it was all ignored for a new concept called “consensus”.

    Again, good article.

  4. Jon-Paul Says:

    BF: Sure didn’t know you had this site…nice blessing along my road. Sorry to contact you here unless it’s copasetic with you. Just a word, on some of your comments, albeit in good order. You at times address issues back and forth, upside down, and repetitative to no end. Nuff’ said.

    On to the “Free Market:” I agree with you on so many of the levels and scalability vis-a-vie the one person trading with another person — this transaction does indeed illustrate freedom; moreover, as you mentioned in your writing, there cannot exist a Free Market without freedom. And I Agree with that premise.

    However, for the sake of clarity in our discussion; furthermore, to illustrate just a few examples please consider the following.

    Your Example: Did I go to a Starbuck’s and order a cup of coffee and give the funds to the cashier? This is NOT a good example of a free market. Why? Because of all of the subsidities that are involved. A grander scale:

    If I buy 100 shares of stock at $10.00 per share then what I purchased should equal $1,000.00 yet it doesn’t. When one considers the state and local taxes paid on the investment, the federal taxes paid, then the compliance fees, and let’s not forget our broker’s commission, notwithstanding this transaction looks anything but coming from a free market.

    Now a different perspective: In the sense of (real life) huge brokerage companies having an edge at lower prices before offering to the public at a perscribed price…I think there needs to be a agency that monitors the books of say, Olde and Company, E.F. Hutton, Smith Barney, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and what is left of what used to be referred to as the Big 8 accounting firms who literally lost hat, ass, and gloves for faulty accounting procedures when auditing these huge brokerage houses.

    As long as there is — and there will always be a Bernard Madoff, the need for regulation is apparent, again, as with the examples of brokers and accounting firms. Cheers mate!


    • Kent McManigal Says:

      Regulation- yes. Government regulation- no. The State is the worst possible group of dishonest miscreants to give the authority to regulate anyone since they are completely unwilling to regulate themselves.

  5. modestypress Says:

    Still working my way through your blog site. If a Himalayan blackberry (or perhaps kudzu?) is the right metaphor, I would think such a flora would adopt “gumming up the works” as a working scheme.

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