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(zîr′ō-sŭm′, zē′rō-)
Of or relating to a situation in which a gain is offset by an equal loss: "Under the zero-sum budgeting system that governs federal spending, the money for spinal research is likely to be deducted from some other research account" (Daniel S. Greenburg).


relating to a situation in which one person's loss is equal to the other person's gain


denoting an element of game theory in which the amount lost is always equal to the amount gained: a zero-sum economy.
References in periodicals archive ?
Packel (Lake Forest College), whom we all wish to accompany to Las Vegas, introduces and develops the mathematics you will need to conduct a rational analysis of various gambling and game activities, including a selective history of gambling, finite probabilities and mathematical expectations, manipulating backgammon through math, using permutations, combinations and applications in poker, the secrets of sports betting, game theory in zero-sum and non zero-sum games, the impact of the Nash equilibrium concept in popular culture, and the mathematics of bluffing and Texas Holdem.
All the participants apparently accept the idea that world oil supplies are about to decline, and they all share a zero-sum view of natural resources.
If the department does not approve overall rate hikes, any changes under the new formula will be a zero-sum game: Decreases in some customers' premiums will be offset by equal increases in others'.
In their opinion, while it is possible to build the reputation of multiple institutions in the same marketplace, prestige is a zero-sum game.
Reliance, The Home and many others who failed or left the business remind us that zero-sum competition in mature property/casualty markets is an unforgiving game.
Waldman has an admirably mixed attitude toward Morris, who, after all, was his rival in the contest for influence with POTUS (a zero-sum game for most speechwriters).
That was a big issue in the streets of Seattle during the World Trade Organization's meeting last December, but does it have to be a zero-sum game?
The "nonzero" of the book's title comes from game theory, in which games either have zero-sum outcomes, where one player's loss is another's gain, or non-zero-sum outcomes, where both players can gain (or both can lose).
Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what shape historical evidence of this sort might take, for the assertion seems to rest on the assumption that societies are ruled by a kind of zero-sum moral budgeting, with built-in balancing mechanisms to keep them on some presumed even keel.
Among the books he has written are The Zero-Sum Society and The Zero-Sum Solution: Building a World-Class American Economy.
Zero-Sum Game: The Rise of the World's Largest Derivatives Exchange takes readers behind the scenes of this battle to tell the gripping and often comical story of how the historic merger between CME and CBOT almost didn't happen.