The contribution of the theory of games to decision making has been twofold. Firstly, it has described and clarified many of those decision complexes which are reducible to a direct conflict of interests ("game") between two or more irreconcilably opposing parties who have some control over the outcome of the conflict. Secondly, it has supplied means of obtaining solutions to some of the problems so posed. The best examples of non-trivial real-world game situations are to be found in warfare and, in the field of business, in duopolies and oligopolies. But the number of applications has been limited to a large extent by some assumptions required by the theory, mainly those which define the strictness of the competition between the players and the degree of knowledge each has about the others' strategies. In agriculture, too, it is rare that these assumptions can be rigorously met. However by adopting a rather liberal interpretation of these conditions, it is possible to conceive of some farm situations in terms of the theory; landlord vs. tenant or owner vs. sharefarmer competitions spring readily to mind, as do auction sales and other direct farmer-market contacts. One of the most fruitful areas for investigation in the agricultural field is the study of games against nature. This covers a range of situations, from direct conflict between the farmer and his physical environment, (for example, raising crops subject to irregular weather conditions) to a competition between the farmer and his economic environment, that is an amalgamation of all his "adversaries"--marketing authorities, other farmers, etc. In either case "nature" is considered as a fictitious player having no known objective and, as a starting point, no known strategy.


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