Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff: The Pie Grows vs. Zero Sum and Negotiation-Failure

Bob Woodward in his book The Price of Politics makes a grand point: Obama has no clue on how to negotiate. Upon the consequential arrival at the fiscal cliff and the negotiations thereof, Woodward’s observation is validated/reinforced. (1)

Negotiate: to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal. (2)

The definition may be insightful in and of itself leading to part of the puzzle of negotiation-ability-failure. How so? The definition mentions the term “deal” twice and the term “bargain“. The definition could be argued to implicitly assume mutual self-interest [bargain] at the point of exchange [deal]. Moreover, the definition has a whiff of “the pie expands” as the term “deal” was used twice (both parties deal resulting in gain by both parties).

Considering the above, a particular political view of exchange
is: zero sum in that only one party gains at the expense of the other party. Reflect for a moment on the use of that exchange fallacy (its very much smacks of class warfare at/after the point of exchange). What ilk uses the above mentioned zero sum fallacious argument all the time and every time??? Yes, you guessed it.

Back to the beginning. It’s “negotiation time” once again for negotiation-ability-failure-man. Now consider a situation of all engines full reverse and the class warfare argument placed upon its head. That is, the same zero sum argument that is politically framed as the “rich” only becoming rich at the expense of others, the mantra as it were, is now used by the same politico [negotiation-ability-failure-man] to attempt to produce a zero sum negotiation outcome. Stated alternatively, negotiation-ability-failure-man views “negotiation” as he views “exchange”. Exchange is rejected as mutual self-interest at the point of exchange and only viewed as one party gains at the expense of the other party. Zero sum becomes dogmatic as his aggregate mysticism is predicated on the rejection of mutual self-interest at the point of exchange.

Putting the hypocrisy aside of using the same zero sum exchange concept by negotiation-ability-failure-man by merely plugging himself in as the “rich” in the one party gains at the expense of the other party mantra…..negotiation-ability-failure-man is wholly unable to negotiate as “bargain” and “deal” don’t exist in his zero sum world and bargain and deal are substituted by the only exchange he understands: one party gains at the expense of the other party.

If the above discussion has validity, then negotiation-ability-failure-man is merely a trained creature of an exogenous ideology. Critical thinking is out the window and Pavlov is merely ringing the bell.



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