You Don’t Get What You Deserve

you get what you negotiate.

That’s the tagline for Karrass negotiation training. You may have seen the ad on the back cover of an airline in-flight magazine. There’s a distinguished looking gentleman letting you know that:

“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”

It’s supposed to make you think you need to take his class to become a really good negotiator. When I saw that my first thought was, capitalism is broken.

I mean, shouldn’t people get what they deserve? If there were one socioeconomic system that gives people what they deserve and another that doesn’t, wouldn’t we prefer the one that does?

Instead, if someone said, “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you can steal.” We would think this person had their values screwed up. This would be someone whom good people should be protected from. It wouldn’t make you want to take a class to become a really good thief.

2 comments ↓

#1 Ahsan on 02.01.11 at 10:56 am

You make this point from an efficient market hypothesis that all the information is accounted perfectly in the system. Hence, giving us a perfect price. But I agree with the quote “you get what you negotiate”. The market is inefficient, people follow a herd mentality. Hence, exuberant returns and failures.

#2 Bob Steinke on 02.02.11 at 2:30 pm

I wasn’t arguing that the efficient market hypothesis is true.

What I was really pointing out is that on the one hand, academic libertarians argue that the efficient market hypothesis makes everything fair, and yet here’s this example, sticking out like a sore thumb, that is clearly saying in the real world this isn’t true.

The worst part is they are saying markets are unfair and they are okay with that. Their solution is to try to exploit the unfairness, not to try to end it.

That sort of attitude is completely wrong, but people have been told and have come to accept that it’s okay. Sayings like “business is business” are part of the culture that propagates this wrongheaded philosophy.

And most people just accept “conventional wisdom” without really questioning it, and without noticing contradictions like this.

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