prisoner's dilemma

noun
  1. (in game theory) a scenario in which the outcome of one person's decision is determined by the simultaneous decisions of the other participants, resulting in a bad outcome for all of them if all act in their own self-interest.

Origin of prisoner's dilemma

from a dilemma in which partners in crime must decide whether to confess, without knowing each other's decision
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018