If you've been brought up in Western society your first exposure to polyamory probably occurred through pop culture.
The fiscal cliff is a sort of prisoner's dilemma. Each player appears fixated on trying to rat to the electorate about the guilt of the other for the impending disaster. In the chaos following a fall down the cliff, the president and the Republicans each hope that they will escape with a light electoral sentence while the other is sent down for life.
Game theory, popularised to the wider public by the film 'A Beautiful Mind', offers a simple, yet extremely powerful, analogy to examine social interactions: the prisoner's dilemma.