Filed under: Domestic Policy, Law, Politics, The United States | Tags: I Win—You Lose, President Barack Obama, The Nature of Negotiation
Heard a lot of congressmen interviewed briefly on the radio today, about the meeting with the president. The sticking point seems to be that the President simply does not understand negotiation. When two groups have irreconcilable positions in government, the object is to do a little horse trading, — each gives a little here and there, painful, but something they can give a little on — if they get a little from the other guy. That’s how progress is made.
This is the same process that is the very basis of trade as an economic concept. If Barg, whose tribe lives near the seashore covets a pot made by Jrak whose tribe lives far inland, they can probably arrange a trade of fish for pot. Barg has plenty of fish and jrak can make another pot. Each leaves the negotiation richer by something they didn’t have before, and pleased with the trade. And so economics was born. OK, silly example.
But Obama seems to understand only “I win.” Not that if both parties cannot walk away feeling that they won, but simply that they got something that they value in the exchange. Even if both sides end up feeling that they lost a little, it can work as long as both believe the trade to be fair.
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment