Friday, December 13, 2013

Make Deals, Not War

George Carlin had many unfunny pseudobits about "businesscriminals," but this one is probably the worst:

"They don't even trust each other. When a businessman sits down to negotiate a deal, the first thing he does is to automatically assume that the other guy is a complete lying prick who's trying to fuck him out of his money, so he's gotta do everything he can to fuck the other guy a little bit faster and a little bit harder."

I have heard rants with the same spirit from other comedians, and often when I'm at a party - especially post-credit crisis - someone corners me and stumbles his way through a feckless sermon on the evil world of negotiated transactions. Bargaining, negotiating, dealmaking, and guys in suits sporting briefcases have long been safe targets of scorn for artists and wannabe artists alike.

The alternative to bargaining is brute force. If you think the world is violent and unequal now, imagine a world where a 110-pound woman was not assumed to be able to negotiate with a 300-pound-man to get what she was after. She would lose every time. Thankfully, homo sapiens negotiate most of the time, or else the pipsqueaks among us would very quickly go extinct.

Speaking of preventing extinction, flirtation is negotiation. When you flirt, you are bargaining to get someone to give you her number, sleep with you, and so on. The alternative to this negotiation, clubbing her and dragging her back to your cave, seems uncouth in comparison. If we eliminated this form of negotiation, chivalry would be dead, along with a lot of women. We'd see commercials telling us: "Every six seconds a woman isn't negotiated with."

A handful of the countries that took brave stands against bargaining:

Soviet Union
North Korea
Red China
East Germany

You may have noticed their cups failed to overfloweth. Plenty of people died trying to sneak into West Germany. I don't recall too many West Germans trying to break into East Germany. Surprising, since in East Germany bargaining was eliminated and everything was free!!! Negotiationless North Korea also doesn't seem to have much of an illegal immigration problem. And I don't remember hordes of people defecting to the non-negotiation countenancing Soviet Union, but that's probably my bourgeois pig brain lying to me.

Desires and wants are bottomless. Everyone wants everything all the time. As we go to print, no one has yet invented a magic wand that can make whatever we want appear free of charge. If you're upset about this, email your complaints to Isaac Newton. Bargaining allows us to at least get some of the things we want without having to resort to outright banditry.

It is an extraordinary irony that many of these anti-negotiation "progressives" are also anti-"bullying." Negotiation, not bumper stickers denouncing bullying, is what keeps bullying from being the first resort in every human exchange. Without an expectation of negotiation, the Biggest and Baddest would simply stomp you and take everything you had. The big fish really would eat the little ones. Get rid of negotiation, and the only folks who will have food and shelter will be MMA fighters, NFL linebackers, and Ted Nugent.

Anti-negotiation hipster nerds certainly wouldn't do well in an all brute force world. Funny how everyone always assumes they'd be on the winning side of their fantasy revolutions (guess that's why they're called fantasies). But anyway, in the spirit of tolerance, we should give these crybabies a week of exposure to the No Negotiation World they want. This experiment would also serve their desire to "return to nature," as a week without negotiation would leave them naked, homeless, and starving.

Negotiate your way through my Tweets:

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