It’s said that a good negotiation is one in which each party suffers the most hurt that it can withstand. So, says Malcolm Durham from Flexible Directors, maybe our reputation for moaning and being negative is actually a sign of good agreements.
Marxists may describe business as a battle between Capital and Labour, but if that were literally the case then there would be no businesses. Rather there would be a pile of idle capital and striking labour with no output. The fact of the matter is that business does operate, by striking agreements between the two elements, both of which can claim to be unhappy with the result. It’s said that a good negotiation is one in which each party suffers the most hurt that it can withstand. So maybe our reputation for moaning and being negative is actually a sign of good agreements.
But when it comes to politics it seems that this war has different rules, that agreement is utterly unacceptable and the only way to be is in opposition to the other view. So nothing is ever resolved and each side tries to dominate the other, which it does for a time until the balance tips too far and the reasonable minded electorate, few of whom have extreme views, vote for the other side to re-balance the rights and benefits.
It’s said that politicians are too busy dealing with current issues and crises to take time out to think about what they should do. But if they did, or listened to Think Tanks, which aim to fulfil this fairly important role, maybe they could see how other institutions work and try it? I mean it’s not as if the current system is a rip-roaring success is it? It’s not as if everyone in the Conservative party agrees with each other in every aspect, nor the Labour party, or even the EU. If we accepted this as something to be worked with rather than against then maybe we would come up with a better, more long lasting result?
- Instead of low tax or high tax we would have tax that had a rational approach to income and capital?
- Instead of low pay and high pay we would have remuneration that rewarded talent and social utility?
- Instead of protecting people from owning equity, because it’s risky, we encouraged a balanced approach to saving for a deposit on a house (short-term) and our retirement (long-term)?
- Create a Royal Commission to solve the housing shortage and Nimbyism aka the planning problem?
- Update our education syllabus to ensure students (and adults?) are schooled in the intangibles that are now intrinsic: finance and software.
Staying wedded to economic theories needs to be jettisoned too. When I hear Paul Mason saying that he would compromise so long as his economic theory isn’t then my response is: which economic theory HAS worked? Marxism? Keynesianism? Monetarism? Neo-classicism?
This radical approach to governing may need entirely different politicians and even a new system. Maybe we will vote nationally on-line more frequently, (we’re getting enough practise at it already)? Unless you’re in France right now, centrism isn’t exciting at first glance and agreement is less exciting than conflict: whoever cheered a drawn match? But excitement is neither the aim of governing nor of wealth creation, and those who claim that it is are the epitome of populists.
Holding two apparently contrary ideas at once is said to be the sign of wisdom, often the product of maturity that comes with experience. As a long established democracy are we old enough to reconcile our differences in some halfway house with criticism on both sides?
Or is that simply unacceptable?
Malcolm Durham, is the co-founder, WealthBeing