Tuesday, February 14, 2023

On Reverse Martingales

            On Reverse Martingales


           Elsewhere I discussed “Orwellian victory”. In normal victory, the victor imposes peace on the victor’s terms; in Orwellian victory, the victor terms are that there be a bigger and better war.

             Normal victory ends the war, Orwellian victory escalates it. The two are confused by warriors to whom war is peace. For instance, America experienced several Orwellian victories in Vietnam, before finally losing.

             Consider now what I call the “reverse martingale”. The forward martingale is a gambling system in which the gambler redoubles the bet after each loss; in the reverse martingale, the gambler redoubles the bet after each win. The forward martingale is supposedly a sure thing; the first time you win you get back all your losses, plus twice your original outlay. In practice there is a small chance of being wiped out by a losing streak. Similarly the reverse martingale is almost a sure loss, but there is a small chance of big - but evanescent - wins along the way.

             Orwellian victory is a reverse martingale. The Orwellian victor redoubles the war after each victory, until eventual loss, but with a small chance of grand glory along the way.

             Here’s another reverse martingale; Pascal’s Wager. Pascal wagers that there is a God; if he wins then he wagers on some other characteristic of God; and so on until almost-certain loss, at which point Pascal loses his original stake; but there is a small chance of winning big about God, along the way, temporarily.



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