Saturday, December 18, 2004

Human Transactions

We transact with others on a continuum of trust and power. On one end of the spectrum, what we receive from the transaction cannot be differentiated from a gift. On the other end, it is a product of force and power applied to another. One relationship relies on human intuition to be profitable; the other is a product of brute calculation. As individuals in a generic situation we chose to transact on that basis that we expect to yield the more favorable result. That decision is a product of our personality and experience. When transacting with other humans with whom we have no prior experience, we proceed according to a characteristic bias. This same bias is also projected on anthropomorphized institutions such as government and corporations.

The continuum of interaction is directly correspondent to the feeling/thinking axis of decision making that differentiates liberals and conservatives. Conservatives tend to view government as best suited to taking a limited, contractual relationship with the governed. Meanwhile, liberals seek a paternalistic government that “feels their pain”. So, our approach to politics is again an extension of our personalities. We should be aware of the bias that we bring to our deliberations of problems that we wish to objectify; the best solution applies uniformly to the mass of society and not to ourselves alone.