In part I Aditya kulkarni manages to convince his wife to go along with his bidding game to share household chores.
Legend has it that jon nash invented game theory to figure out the best strategy that can be used to pick up girls in a bar. This eventually led to the nobel prize in economics (and he also got the girl, by the way), but i figure that game theory can be used for much more practical applications – getting out of household chores. Take that, jon nash.
So i’d managed to convince the wife to try out the auction method to allocate household chores. After much cajoling, she’d finally agreed, and we were going to have a ‘trial run’ with four household chores. We were ready to start the auction, and i was ready with my strategy!
The auction was designed as a combinatorial, no-reserve auction. In game theory terms, this was a two-person zero-sum game, and my strategy was to bid one item to 3t/4 (where t is total money available), so that i could buy the rest of the items, since x<3t/4, and i could win the rest. So the auction starts in earnest. The wife notices that i've started to bid a bit heavily on the 'i will not make the bed' chore. She starts to get a little suspicious, and she bids on that item too. Rs 200. I bid rs 300. She really wants to teach me a lesson, i think, because she ups the bidding on the item, and bids rs 350. The image of me getting up all sleepy headed in the morning and struggling to make the bed day after day comes to my mind. I start to feel a bit nervous. I bid rs 400. The wife gives me a stare. Ah, she's trying to psych me. But i'm not going to fall for her mind games. I want to stare right back, but i don't really have the guts to do it, so i stare at the ceiling fan instead. She bids rs 450 on it. This is my chance! I suddenly switch, my strategy and start to bid on the other items. Since she has so much of her fake money tied up on the ‘i will not make the bed’ item, i outbid her on every of the other items. She doesn't seem to be too worried about this, (probably because she does all these chores anyway, and the prospect of making me make the bed every morning is pleasing her no end). Wife: “so i guess that’s it. All the chores have been sold, and looks like you have to make the bed! You can start right away!”
hah! The auction may be over, but the game is not. Like the undead cursed thing from the movie the mummy said, “the end is only the beginning.
Me:actually, i would like to apply for a loan from the hcb.
Me: “yes, i’m going to use all the items that i won as collateral, and borrow rs 500 from the bank.
Wife: “wait how did the hcb get the money to lend to you?
Me: “oh, all the proceeds of the auction go to the hcb
wife: “wait a minute how can you”
before she can protest, i interrupt her.
Me: “so, i’m going to use this rs 500 and buy the ‘i will not make the bed’ chore as well.
Wife: “hey, wait a minute. I won that!
Me: “but i’m buying it for a higher price than you paid, so it’s fair.
Wife: “in that case, i am also going to apply for a loan too!
Me: “unfortunately, you don’t have any collateral to apply for loan, since you don’t own any chores now. But if you want to put your remaining money in a hcb fixed deposit, you can earn an annual interest rate of 9%, so you can try again next year.”
the wife is giving me the look.
Wife: “so lets summarize. Your bank took all the money from me, i didn’t win any chores in the auction, and not only did you win everything, you will also not do any chores around the house. Correct?
Me: “that is correct. By following the rules of the free market and the banking system, you can see that everyone benefits tremendously.”
Apparently, i was profoundly mistaken. What happened next was rather unconventional, but i was forced to accept it as i was under some severe threats of being homeless. The wife proceeded to appoint herself as the director of the household central bank, and made some questionable “investment decisions” to “lend” to all the chores to herself.
So here i am, cleaning the dining table, yet again. Not only that, i also have to make the bed from now on.