There are many papers written on this topic, and there is even a book on a similar topic called Selfish Routing and the Price of Anarchy.
I am not going to cover what the research is working on, but rather a simple scenario that pertains to systems.
Imagine a system that does not provide any feedback to its users or requesters. In other words, there is no congestion control built-in. What this basically means is that the system is used and utilized on a FCFS basis. The first user that gets on the system can utilize and use up all the resources, and not allow any one else to use the system.
Oddly enough, this scenario is not too far fetched; consider a computer virus for example. If your computer is infected with a virus, it takes over and you are unable to do anything else.
Consider an HPC environment. A user gets up early in the morning and submits a job that takes over the environment. If there are no controls in place, no one other than the first user can use the system. The system becomes “available” when the first user logs off or is finished.
Selfish computing is everywhere.