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Zero Sum Game

A "zero-sum game" is a situation where the gains of one participant or entity are exactly offset by the losses of another participant or entity. In other words, the total gains and losses within the system balance out, resulting in a net sum of zero.

What You Need To Know

Zero-sum games often occur when resources, rewards, or opportunities are limited and cannot be expanded. The total value available remains fixed, and participants compete to secure a larger share of the existing value. In zero-sum games, participants typically focus on maximizing their own gains relative to others rather than creating overall value. Success is measured in terms of outperforming or surpassing competitors rather than achieving absolute gains. Zero-sum games tend to foster a competitive and potentially adversarial environment, as participants directly oppose each other to secure a greater portion of the limited resources. The interests of the participants are often in direct conflict.