The Peacock's Tale: Lessons from evolution for effective signaling in international politics
Blumstein, Daniel T.
Hochberg, Michael E.
Johnson, Dominic D.P.
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Knowing how to send and interpret signals is an essential part of both diplomacy and war. Political scientists have recognized that costly signals—gestures and actions that involve significant cost or risk—are central to politics and diplomacy since modeling doyen James Fearon built his Ph. D. thesis around the concept in the 1990s. Because these signaling systems are pervasive in nature (many of these strategies arise independently and repeatedly to solve common problems suggesting evolutionary pressure to select strategies offering the most success at the least cost), their underlying strategic logic has important implications to foreign policy challenges we face today. By capitalizing on solutions derived by evolution over 3. 5 billion years of life on Earth, we may identify ideas that otherwise might not have been explored in a policy context potentially offering quick, novel, and effective options to increase strategic and combat effectiveness. Here we present 8 lessons from evolution for political science.
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