Rules versus strategies

I’ve been slowly but compulsively thinking about the interaction between “rules” and “strategy” – which is to say, from my legal scholar’s perspective, can good laws make for a better society. Games are, following insight from Guy Rocher (a “famous” sociology of law prof at U. de Montréal), a pluralist source for normative rules in society. Game rules are a disposable legal order, of interest to jurists.

If you’re curious, I’m using pluralist legal theory for teleological (e.g. a big word to say “outcomes”) analysis, sprinkled with some Economic Analysis of Law (in French, this is my rebranding of bibliothéconomie). This is particularly well suited for thinking about how law identifies and shapes the peices (subjects and objects) of society and attempt to impact how they interact. (Bonus points if you think our shared life experience is a game and we can design/analyse better rules).

There are a lot of things to unpact between “rules” and “strategy” : mostly because they mean many different things to so many academic disciplines, namely law, business & design. This insight comes from various examples that have caught my eye (and mind) – or, more to the point, going to drive me mad if I don’t write something about them:

  • Will copyright reform or status of the artist legislation (aka “rules”) impact how organisations or institutions in the the artistic, cultural or creative sectors (aka “strategy”) allow us to achieve policy/societal objectives (teleology). How can copyright rules lead to policy objectives?
  • As examples of how this field of enquiry may be applicable: What is the relationship between the “French deck” of playing cards (our standard deck of 4 suits, 52 cards, etc.), which emerged in the late 15th century as a simplification (printing hack) of artisanal made decks, and the emergence of the Civil Code some 2 centuries later? Did a standardisation of game objects lead to a view that there is an optimal method of play (this is evident in some rule books for Whist, a popular game in the 18th & 19th century). Would the same hold with the Royal Game of the Goose? Would the popularity of games lead to structuring society with alternative approaches to rule making?
  • More broadly speaking, with regards to research questions, Would there be a way to formalize the codification of game rules im metadata/controlled vocabulary to determine a method to derive optimal strategy? How would this impact learning algorithms and other technologies often called artificial intelligence?

These are but a few of the threads that came undone when tugging at these ideas. There is still much work ahead!

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