Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Is Big Oil As Smart As A Chimp?

Interesting things happen when you teach chimps to play with tokens.

Chimps, it seems, are better at some decision-making processes than humans. Imagine a game where you are given X number of tokens. You then offer Player 2 Y percentage of those tokens... 50 percent or 5 percent or 80 percent or whatever, your choice. A human player of this game will usually offer up something around 50 percent of the take. Humans also have a tendency to reject an offer if it falls well below the 50 percent threshold, even though rejecting that offer means that the human in question gets nothing. In other words, the average human will tend to reject a gift of twenty bucks from someone like Donald Trump. A chimp, on the other hand, will gladly take Trump's twenty without question and go spend it... or whatever chimps do with their money.

It's a little like the current situation the Alberta government is in -- except the chips are petroleum, and Alberta has all the chips.

In (I swear!) completely unrelated news, Canadian Natural Resources has joined the ranks of those petroleum companies who want to take their bat and ball and go play somewhere else if Alberta dares to increase oil revenues to match reasonable standards elsewhere.

My analogy may be a little weak, I admit. After all, chimps are not noted for having the grasp of language, culture and psychology required to be deceptive bastards like oil companies and other humans.

Also: Do you think Ed Stelmach has fully grasped what a shitty job his party has done of diversifying the Provincial economy yet?


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