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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A progressive decision procedure to determine whom to root for in the World Cup

Avery guest-blogging for Rodger

The following criteria are arranged in lexical order; progress to the next criterion only if the previous one is not decisive.
Support team A over team B if:
1. B = Germany
2. A represents a country that gained independence from B’s country any time after 1917.
3. A, but not B, represents a country that shook off foreign rule in the past 75 years.
4. A is from a country whose one main language is a Romance language, whereas B is from a country whose one main language is a Germanic language.
5. A represents a country that is more than 10 degrees south of B’s country.
6. B, but not A, waged a war of aggression at any point in the past 75 years.
This formula allowed me to decide whom to support in every game of the Round of 16, with a winning percentage of 50% (Argentina, Italy, Ukraine, Portugal). It chooses sides in the Round of 8 as follows:
a. Argentina v. Germany: Argentina (by rule 1)
b. Italy v. Ukraine: Ukraine* (by rule 3)
c. England v. Portugal: Portugal (by rule 4)
d. Brazil v. France: Brazil (by rule 5)

The decision procedure is complete relative to every possible arrangement from here on out.** I haven’t checked how it would have done in group play. I bet with a little massaging it could outperform the Democratic Peace Hypothesis.
I submit that progressives ought to endorse this decision procedure. It eschews patriotism and other criteria for identification with nation-states, but supports national self-determination. It supports, on balance, the global south over the global north. I welcome feedback and am happy to revise it if someone can show me that it has right-leaning results in some cases. Otherwise, go Argentina, Ukraine, Portugal, and Brazil!!

* Assuming that neither Hitler’s invasion, nor the Allied powers’ postwar occupation, of Italy constituted foreign rule in the full sense.
** France tops out above the 50th parallel; Lisbon is below the 40th parallel. So if France meets Portugal, my procedure picks Portugal.

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