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Puzzle: Fair division among equally loved ones

Popularity 2Viewed 1196 times 2015-10-17 08:45 |Personal category:Quote Me|System category:Life| How, divide, wealth, among, more

There is a famous story of a man who had two children. He loved them both equally and wanted to divide his property and wealth fairly and evenly between the two when he died. They were always fighting and competing with each other and complaining that he was partial towards the other, even if he tried to be fair.  He wished they would be able to come to an agreement between themselves on a fair division without any reason to complain that one of them got a better deal. So, he came up with a way to do so in his will. Can you guess how?

Answer: He wrote in his will that one of his children would get the right to divide the property into two parts, and the other child would get the right to pick which part they  wanted for themselves.

This is a clever way to do this. If the one who divided the property made one portion of higher value the other could pick it, so there was every incentive for the person who divided the wealth to do it as fairly and evenly as possible. The one who picked could not complain, because they had the right to choose either and they cannot complain about it being unfair either.

Now, imagine that if the man had three or more children, how could he arrange it so that all the children would get a fair share or atleast no one could complain about not having a fair chance to divide or pick the best from among the divided portions. Remember that when there are more than two competing, there is possibility of unfair collusion between two or more competitors.

What would you do, if you had 3 or more children among whom you wanted to divide up wealth fairly?

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (4 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2015-10-19 11:14
Thanks for sharing your story here. We have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report KIyer 2015-10-19 11:37
voice_cd: Thanks for sharing your story here. We have highlighted your blog.
thanks!
Reply Report KIyer 2015-10-19 11:38
This is quite a complex mathematical and logical problem.
Reply Report Newtown 2015-10-21 19:55
They could consult "King Lear" for an answer.

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