Prisoner’s dilemma (囚徒困境 qiútú kùnjìng) refers to a special game between two players that explains the reason why it is difficult to maintain cooperation even when it is beneficial to both sides. It reflects that the best choice for the individual is not the best choice for the group.
- 囚 (qiú) as in imprisoning (囚禁 qiújìn); 徒 (tú) as in futile effort (徒劳 túláo) or on foot (徒步 túbù). 囚徒 (qiútú) means prisoner.
- 困 (kùn) as in difficulty (困难 kùnnán) or impoverished (贫困 pínkùn). 境 (jìng) as in environment (环境 huánjìng) or border (边境 biānjìng). 困境 (kùnjìng) refers to a difficult situation where a difficult choice has to be made among equally desirable alternatives, as in ethical dilemma (道德困境 dàodé kùnjìng).