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The Dismal Mind - Economics as a Pretension To Science
by: Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.
It is impossible to describe any human action if one does not refer to the meaning the actor sees in the stimulus as well as in the end his response is aiming at.
Ludwig von Mises
Storytelling has been with us since the days of campfire and besieging wild animals. It served a number of important functions: amelioration of fears, communication of vital information (regarding survival tactics and the characteristics of animals, for instance), the satisfaction of a sense of order (predictability and justice), the development of the ability to hypothesize, predict and introduce theories and so on.
We are all endowed with a sense of wonder. The world around us in inexplicable, baffling in its diversity and myriad forms. We experience an urge to organize it, to "explain the wonder away", to order it so that we know what to expect next (predict). These are the essentials of survival. But while we have been successful at imposing our mind on the outside world – we have been much less successful when we tried to explain and comprehend our internal universe and our behaviour.
Economics is not an exact science, nor can it ever be. This is because its "raw material" (humans and their behaviour as individuals and en masse) is not exact. It will never yield natural laws or universal constants (like physics). Rather, it is a branch of the psychology of masses. It deals with the decisions humans make. Richard Thaler, the prominent economist, argues that a model of human cognition should lie at the heart of every economic theory. In other words he regards economics to be an extension of psychology.
II. PHILOSOPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS - THE ISSUE OF MIND (PSYCHOLOGY)
The relationships between the structure and functioning of our (ephemeral) mind, the structure and modes of operation of our (physical) bodies and the structure and conduct of social collectives have been the matter of heated debate for millennia.
There are those who, for all practical purposes, identify the mind with its product (mass behaviour). Some of them postulate the existence of a lattice of preconceived, born, categorical knowledge about the universe – the vessels into which we pour our experience and which mould it. Others have regarded the mind as a black box. While it is possible in principle to know its input and output, it is impossible, again in principle, to understand its internal functioning and management of information.
The other camp is more "scientific" and "positivist". It speculated that the mind (whether a physical entity, an epiphenomenon, a non-physical principle of organization, or the result of introspection) – has a structure and a limited set of functions. They argue that a "user's manual" can be composed, replete with engineering and maintenance instructions. The most prominent of these "psychodynamists" was, of course, Freud. Though his disciples (Jung, Adler, Horney, the object-relations lot) diverged wildly from his initial theories – they all shared his belief in the need to "scientify" and objectify psychology. Freud – a medical doctor by profession (Neurologist) and Bleuler before him – came with a theory regarding the structure of the mind and its mechanics: (suppressed) energies and (reactive) forces. Flow charts were provided together with a method of analysis, a mathematical physics of the mind.
Yet, dismal reality is that psychological theories of the mind are metaphors of the mind. They are fables and myths, narratives, stories, hypotheses, conjunctures. They play (exceedingly) important roles in the psychotherapeutic setting – but not in the laboratory. Their form is artistic, not rigorous, not testable, less structured than theories in the natural sciences. The language used is polyvalent, rich, effusive, and fuzzy – in short, metaphorical. They are suffused with value judgements, preferences, fears, post facto and ad hoc constructions. None of this has methodological, systematic, analytic and predictive merits.
Still, the theories in psychology are powerful instruments, admirable constructs of the mind. As such, they probably satisfy some needs. Their very existence proves it.
The attainment of peace of mind, for instance, is a need, which was neglected by Maslow in his famous model. People often sacrifice material wealth and welfare, forgo temptations, ignore opportunities and put their lives in danger – just to reach this bliss of tranquility. There is, in other words, a preference of inner equilibrium over homeostasis. It is the fulfilment of this overriding need that psychological treatment modalities cater to. In this, they are no different to other collective narratives (myths, for instance).
But, psychology is desperately trying to link up to reality and to scientific discipline by employing observation and measurement and by organizing the results and presenting them using the language of mathematics (rather, statistics). This does not atone for its primordial "sin": that its subject matter (humans) is ever-changing and its internal states are inaccessible and incommunicable. Still, it lends an air of credibility and rigorousness to it.
III. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
To qualify as science, an economic theory must satisfy the following conditions:
1. All-inclusive (anamnetic) – It must encompass, integrate and incorporate all the facts known.
2. Coherent – It must be chronological, structured and causal.
3. Consistent – Self-consistent (its sub-"narratives" cannot contradict one another or go against the grain of the main "narrative") and consistent with the observed phenomena (both those related to the subject and those pertaining to the rest of the universe).
4. Logically compatible – It must not violate the laws of logic both internally (the narrative must abide by some internally imposed logic) and externally (the Aristotelian logic which is applicable to the observable macro world).
5. Insightful – It must inspire a sense of awe and astonishment, which is the result of seeing something familiar in a new light or the result of seeing a pattern emerging out of a big body of data ("data mining"). The insights must be the inevitable conclusion of the logic, the language and of the development of the narrative.
6. Aesthetic – The narrative must be both plausible and "right", beautiful (aesthetic), not cumbersome, not awkward, not discontinuous, smooth and so on.
7. Parsimonious – The narrative must employ the minimum number of assumptions and entities in order to satisfy all the above conditions.
8. Explanatory – The narrative must explain the behaviour of economic actors, their decisions, why events develop the way they do.
9. Predictive (prognostic) – The narrative must possess the ability to predict future events, the future behaviour of economic actors and of other meaningful figures and the inner emotional and cognitive dynamics of said actors.
10. Prescriptive – With the power to induce change (whether it is for the better, is a matter of contemporary value judgements and fashions).
11. Imposing – The narrative must be regarded by society as the preferable and guiding organizing principle.
12. Elastic – The narrative must possess the intrinsic abilities to self organize, reorganize, give room to emerging order, accommodate new data comfortably, avoid rigidity in its modes of reaction to attacks from within and from without.
In some of these respects, current economic narratives are usually theories in disguise. But scientific theories must satisfy not only most of the above conditions. They must also pass the crucial hurdles of testability, verifiability, refutability, falsifiability, and repeatability – all failed by economic theories. Many economists argue that no experiments can be designed to test the statements of economic narratives, to establish their truth-value and, thus, to convert them to theorems.
There are four reasons to account for this shortcoming - the inability to test hypotheses in economics:
1. Ethical – Experiments would have to involve humans. To achieve the necessary result, the subjects will have to be ignorant of the reasons for the experiments and their aims. Sometimes even the very performance of an experiment will have to remain a secret (double blind experiments). Some experiments may involve unpleasant experiences. This is ethically unacceptable.
2. Design Problems - The design of experiments in economics is awkward and difficult. Mistakes are often inevitable, however careful and meticulous the designer of the experiment is.
3. The Psychological Uncertainty Principle – The current position of a human subject can be (theoretically) fully known. But the passage of time and the experiment itself influence the subject and void this knowledge ("time inconsistencies"). The very processes of measurement and observation influence the subject and change him.
4. Uniqueness – Experiments in economics, therefore, tend to be unique and cannot be replicated elsewhere and at other times even if they deal with the SAME subjects. The subjects (the tested humans) are never the same due to the aforementioned psychological uncertainty principle. Repeating the experiments with other subjects adversely affects the scientific value of the results.
5. The undergeneration of testable hypotheses – Economics does not generate a sufficient number of hypotheses, which can be subjected to scientific testing. This has to do with the fabulous (=storytelling) nature of the discipline. In a way, Economics has affinity with some private languages. It is a form of art and, as such, is self-sufficient. If structural, internal constraints and requirements are met – a statement is deemed true even if it does not satisfy external (scientific) requirements. Thus, the standard theory of utility is considered valid in economics despite empirical evidence to the contrary - simply because it is aesthetic and mathematically convenient.
So, what are economic narratives good for?
Narratives in economics offer an organizing principle, a sense of order and ensuing justice, of an inexorable drive toward well defined (though, perhaps, hidden) goals, the ubiquity of meaning, being part of a whole. They strive to answer the "why’s" and "how’s". They are dialogic and prescriptive (=provide behavioural prescriptions). The client (let's say, a politician) asks: "Why am I (and here follows an economic problem or behaviour". Then, the narrative is spun: "The situation is like this not because the world is whimsically cruel but because...and if you were to do this or that the situation is bound to improve". The client is calmed by the very fact that there is an explanation to that which until now bothered him, that there is hope and - providing he follows the prescriptions - he cannot be held responsible for a possible failure, that there is who or what to blame (focussing diffused anger is a very policy instrument) and, that, therefore, his belief in order, justice and their administration by some supreme, transcendental principle is restored. This sense of "law and order" is further enhanced when the narrative yields predictions which come true (either because they are self-fulfilling or because some real "law"- really, a pattern - has been discovered).
IV. CURRENT PROBLEMS IN ECONOMICS
Neo-classical economics has failed on several fronts simultaneously. This multiple failure led to despair and the re-examination of basic percepts and tenets:
1. The Treatment of Government
Government was accorded a special status and special treatment in economic theory (unlike other actors and agents). It was alternatively cast as a saint (seeking to selflessly maximize social welfare) - or as the villain (seeking to perpetuate and increase its power ruthlessly, as in public choice theories). Both views are caricatures of reality. Governments do seek to perpetuate and increase power but they use it mostly to redistribute income and not for self-enrichment.
2. Technology and Innovation
Economics failed to account for the role of innovation in growth and development. It also ignored the specific nature of knowledge industries (where returns increase rather than diminish and network effects prevail). Thus, current economic thinking is woefully inadequate to deal with information monopolies (such as Microsoft), path dependence and pervasive externalities.
3. Long Term Investment Horizons
Classic cost/benefit analyses fail to tackle very long term investment horizons (periods). Their underlying assumption (the opportunity cost of delayed consumption) fails beyond the investor's useful economic life expectancy. Put more plainly: investors care less about their grandchildren's future than about their own. This is because predictions concerned with the far future are highly uncertain and people refuse to base current decisions on fuzzy "what ifs". This is a problem because many current investments (example: the fight against global warming) are likely to yield results only in the decades ahead. There is no effective method of cost/benefit analysis applicable to such time horizons.
4. Homo Economicus
The economic actor is assumed to be constantly engaged in the rational pursuit of self interest. This is not a realistic model - merely a (useful) approximation. People don't repeat their mistakes systematically (=rationality in economics) and they seek to optimize their preferences (altruism can be such a preference, as well).
Still, many people are non-rational or only nearly rational in certain situations. And the definition of "self-interest" as the pursuit of the fulfilment of preferences is a tautology.
V. CONSUMER CHOICES
How are consumer choices influenced by advertising and by pricing? No one seems to have a clear answer. Advertising is both the dissemination of information and a signal sent to consumers that a certain product is useful and qualitative (otherwise, why would a manufacturer invest in advertising it)? But experiments show that consumer choices are influenced by more than these elements (for instance, by actual visual exposure to advertising).
VI. EXPERIMENTAL ECONOMICS
People do not behave in accordance with the predictions of basic economic theories (such as the standard theory of utility and the theory of general equilibrium). They change their preferences mysteriously and irrationally ("preference reversals"). Moreover, their preferences (as evidenced by their choices and decisions in experimental settings) are incompatible with each other. Either economics is not testable (no experiment to rigorously and validly test it can be designed) - or something is very flawed with the intellectual pillars and models of economics.
VII. TIME INCONSISTENCIES
People tend to lose control of their actions or procrastinate because they place greater importance (greater "weight") on the present and the near future than on the far future. This makes them both irrational and unpredictable.
VIII. POSITIVISM versus PRAGMATISM
Should economics be about the construction and testing of of models, which are consistent with basic assumptions? Or should it revolve around the mining of data for emerging patterns (=rules, "laws")? On the one hand, patterns based on a limited set of data are, by definition, inconclusive and temporary and, therefore, cannot serve as a basis for any "science". On the other hand, models based on assumptions are also temporary because they can (and are bound to) be replaced by new models with new (better?) assumptions.
One way around this apparent quagmire is to put human cognition (=psychology) at the heart of economics. Assuming that the human is immutable and knowable - it should be amenable to scientific treatment. "Prospect theory", "bounded rationality theories" and the study of "hindsight bias" and other cognitive deficiencies are the fruits of this approach.
Humans and their world are a multi-dimensional, hyper-complex universe. Mathematics (statistics, computational mathematics, information theory, etc.) is ill equipped to deal with such problems. Econometric models are either weak and lack predictive powers or fall into the traps of logical fallacies (such as the "omitted variable bias" or "reverse causality").
About The Author
Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East". He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press International (UPI) and ebookweb.org and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com. Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.
His web site: http://samvak.tripod.com
The Wages of Science
by: Sam Vaknin
In the United States, Congress approved, last month, increases in the 2003 budgets of both the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. America is not alone in - vainly - trying to compensate for imploding capital markets and risk-averse financiers.
In 1999, chancellor Gordon Brown inaugurated a $1.6 billion program of "upgrading British science" and commercializing its products. This was on top of $1 billion invested between 1998-2002. The budgets of the Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council were quadrupled overnight.
The University Challenge Fund was set to provide $100 million in seed money to cover costs related to the hiring of managerial skills, securing intellectual property, constructing a prototype or preparing a business plan. Another $30 million went to start-up funding of high-tech, high-risk companies in the UK.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the top 29 industrialized nations invest in R&D more than $600 billion a year. The bulk of this capital is provided by the private sector. In the United Kingdom, for instance, government funds are dwarfed by private financing, according to the British Venture Capital Association. More than $80 billion have been ploughed into 23,000 companies since 1983, about half of them in the hi-tech sector. Three million people are employed in these firms. Investments surged by 36 percent in 2001 to $18 billion.
But this British exuberance is a global exception.
Even the - white hot - life sciences field suffered an 11 percent drop in venture capital investments last year, reports the MoneyTree Survey. According to the Ernst & Young 2002 Alberta Technology Report released on Wednesday, the Canadian hi-tech sector is languishing with less than $3 billion invested in 2002 in seed capital - this despite generous matching funds and tax credits proffered by many of the provinces as well as the federal government.
In Israel, venture capital plunged to $600 million last year - one fifth its level in 2000. Aware of this cataclysmic reversal in investor sentiment, the Israeli government set up 24 hi-tech incubators. But these are able merely to partly cater to the pecuniary needs of less than 20 percent of the projects submitted.
As governments pick up the monumental slack created by the withdrawal of private funding, they attempt to rationalize and economize.
The New Jersey Commission of Health Science Education and Training recently proposed to merge the state's three public research universities. Soaring federal and state budget deficits are likely to exert added pressure on the already strained relationship between academe and state - especially with regards to research priorities and the allocation of ever-scarcer resources.
This friction is inevitable because the interaction between technology and science is complex and ill-understood. Some technological advances spawn new scientific fields - the steel industry gave birth to metallurgy, computers to computer science and the transistor to solid state physics. The discoveries of science also lead, though usually circuitously, to technological breakthroughs - consider the examples of semiconductors and biotechnology.
Thus, it is safe to generalize and say that the technology sector is only the more visible and alluring tip of the drabber iceberg of research and development. The military, universities, institutes and industry all over the world plough hundreds of billions annually into both basic and applied studies. But governments are the most important sponsors of pure scientific pursuits by a long shot.
Science is widely perceived as a public good - its benefits are shared. Rational individuals would do well to sit back and copy the outcomes of research - rather than produce widely replicated discoveries themselves. The government has to step in to provide them with incentives to innovate.
Thus, in the minds of most laymen and many economists, science is associated exclusively with publicly-funded universities and the defense establishment. Inventions such as the jet aircraft and the Internet are often touted as examples of the civilian benefits of publicly funded military research. The pharmaceutical, biomedical, information technology and space industries, for instance - though largely private - rely heavily on the fruits of nonrivalrous (i.e. public domain) science sponsored by the state.
The majority of 501 corporations surveyed by the Department of Finance and Revenue Canada in 1995-6 reported that government funding improved their internal cash flow - an important consideration in the decision to undertake research and development. Most beneficiaries claimed the tax incentives for seven years and recorded employment growth.
In the absence of efficient capital markets and adventuresome capitalists, some developing countries have taken this propensity to extremes. In the Philippines, close to 100 percent of all R&D is government-financed. The meltdown of foreign direct investment flows - they declined by nearly three fifths since 2000 - only rendered state involvement more indispensable.
But this is not a universal trend. South Korea, for instance, effected a successful transition to private venture capital which now - even after the Asian turmoil of 1997 and the global downturn of 2001 - amounts to four fifths of all spending on R&D.
Thus, supporting ubiquitous government entanglement in science is overdoing it. Most applied R&D is still conducted by privately owned industrial outfits. Even "pure" science - unadulterated by greed and commerce - is sometimes bankrolled by private endowments and foundations.
Moreover, the conduits of government involvement in research, the universities, are only weakly correlated with growing prosperity. As Alison Wolf, professor of education at the University of London elucidates in her seminal tome "Does Education Matter? Myths about Education and Economic Growth", published last year, extra years of schooling and wider access to university do not necessarily translate to enhanced growth (though technological innovation clearly does).
Terence Kealey, a clinical biochemist, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham in England and author of "The Economic Laws of Scientific Research", is one of a growing band of scholars who dispute the intuitive linkage between state-propped science and economic progress. In an interview published last week by Scientific American, he recounted how he discovered that:
"Of all the lead industrial countries, Japan - the country investing least in science - was growing fastest. Japanese science grew spectacularly under laissez-faire. Its science was actually purer than that of the U.K. or the U.S. The countries with the next least investment were France and Germany, and were growing next fastest. And the countries with the maximum investment were the U.S., Canada and U.K., all of which were doing very badly at the time."
The Economist concurs: "it is hard for governments to pick winners in technology." Innovation and science sprout in - or migrate to - locations with tough laws regarding intellectual property rights, a functioning financial system, a culture of "thinking outside the box" and a tradition of excellence.
Government can only remove obstacles - especially red tape and trade tariffs - and nudge things in the right direction by investing in infrastructure and institutions. Tax incentives are essential initially. But if the authorities meddle, they are bound to ruin science and be rued by scientists.
Still, all forms of science funding - both public and private - are lacking.
State largesse is ideologically constrained, oft-misallocated, inefficient and erratic. In the United States, mega projects, such as the Superconducting Super Collider, with billions already sunk in, have been abruptly discontinued as were numerous other defense-related schemes. Additionally, some knowledge gleaned in government-funded research is barred from the public domain.
But industrial money can be worse. It comes with strings attached. The commercially detrimental results of drug studies have been suppressed by corporate donors on more than one occasion, for instance. Commercial entities are unlikely to support basic research as a public good, ultimately made available to their competitors as a "spillover benefit". This understandable reluctance stifles innovation.
There is no lack of suggestions on how to square this circle.
Quoted in the Philadelphia Business Journal, Donald Drakeman, CEO of the Princeton biotech company Medarex, proposed last month to encourage pharmaceutical companies to shed technologies they have chosen to shelve: "Just like you see little companies coming out of the research being conducted at Harvard and MIT in Massachusetts and Stanford and Berkley in California, we could do it out of Johnson & Johnson and Merck."
This would be the corporate equivalent of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. The statute made both academic institutions and researchers the owners of inventions or discoveries financed by government agencies. This unleashed a wave of unprecedented self-financing entrepreneurship.
In the two decades that followed, the number of patents registered to universities increased tenfold and they spun off more than 2200 firms to commercialize the fruits of research. In the process, they generated $40 billion in gross national product and created 260,000 jobs.
None of this was government financed - though, according to The Economist's Technology Quarterly, $1 in research usually requires up to $10,000 in capital to get to market. This suggests a clear and mutually profitable division of labor - governments should picks up the tab for basic research, private capital should do the rest, stimulated by the transfer of intellectual property from state to entrepreneurs.
But this raises a host of contentious issues.
Such a scheme may condition industry to depend on the state for advances in pure science, as a kind of hidden subsidy. Research priorities are bound to be politicized and lead to massive misallocation of scarce economic resources through pork barrel politics and the imposition of "national goals". NASA, with its "let's put a man on the moon (before the Soviets do)" and the inane International Space Station is a sad manifestation of such dangers.
Science is the only public good that is produced by individuals rather than collectives. This inner conflict is difficult to resolve. On the one hand, why should the public purse enrich entrepreneurs? On the other hand, profit-driven investors seek temporary monopolies in the form of intellectual property rights. Why would they share this cornucopia with others, as pure scientists are compelled to do?
The partnership between basic research and applied science has always been an uneasy one. It has grown more so as monetary returns on scientific insight have soared and as capital available for commercialization multiplied. The future of science itself is at stake.
Were governments to exit the field, basic research would likely crumble. Were they to micromanage it - applied science and entrepreneurship would suffer. It is a fine balancing act and, judging by the state of both universities and startups, a precarious one as well.
About The Author
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .
Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com
Negotiations: The Art, Science, & Sport Of Online Deals
by: Donald Lee
Negotiations can seem as complex as physics, and in fact, people go to college to study the science of negotiating just as they would the laws of nature. At the same time, negotiation is like an ancient art form, some sort of Zen mental jujitsu. When neither the Zen nor the science works, though, no one wins.
Just ask any hockey fan out there. The recent lockout and cancellation of the 2004-2005 NHL season is a perfect example of poor negotiating. Both the players’ union and the league owners broke all of the rules when it came to brokering an agreement on player contracts. The result are hockey rinks across North America that are so quiet that you can hear a pin drop—unfortunately, not a puck. In dollar terms, professional hockey is missing out on television contracts, advertising fees, and tons of ticket sales.
Of course, you won’t lose billions in revenue if you fail at the latest negotiation at your favorite online classified or auction site. But you could let a treasure slip through your fingers. Success in deal making, on the other hand, could land you that rookie Bobby Orr card, signed Stanley Cup puck, or whatever other fantastic item you’re bidding on.
Plus, proper negotiations and compromise can ensure that you get the item for its fair value, including a good price on shipping and taxes. This increases the profitability of the trade for both you and the seller. The deal gets closed without nasty disputes, blow-ups, or hip checks. And both of you are left to do business again in the future.
To score all of these benefits, and avoid your own mini lockout, follow these simple tips on negotiating that will net results at online classified sites. As you’ll see, victory isn’t so much an exact science or a mystic sixth sense. It’s more about simple know-how and common sense.
Warm up. Don’t jump into a negotiation cold. Before you even face off with your opponent, figure out for yourself what would count as a victory. What do you exactly want out of the trade—and at what price?
Consider a truce. It may not even be worth dropping the puck at all. In other words, negotiations, like hockey games, can end in a loss for the home team, you. So weigh this risk before you start. If the item at hand is a dream buy, you may not want to endanger your purchase with a drawn-out negotiation.
Know when to pass. On the other hand, if the item is far from dreamy—and you’re pretty sure something better may come along later—you could pass on negotiations. Or go for the score. Offer a lowball price. If you win, you won’t be out too much, and if you lose, it won’t leave a mark either. But be certain if you play this game. You could miss this opportunity without a guarantee of future prospects.
Know your enemy. Coaches and players spend hours before games watching films of their impending competition to study their tendencies. You need to take the same approach when it comes to making a deal. Try to read your opponent’s mind. What is his or her goals in the negotiation? Does he or she have any strengths that they can use against you? Are there any weaknesses that you can use against them?
Spot all of your passing lanes. During your research, you may find that this particular vendor isn’t the only one in the game with what you’re looking for. Using these other vendors, and their prices, to your advantage can help you skate circles around your competitor.
Practice before you play. Also, research the item before you make a play on it. This knowledge, such as the going price and quality markers, can work as leverage during the negotiating, too.
Translate thought into action. Your strategy can become more complicated and unpredictable—and effective—once you’re in the heat of battle. Just remember to think on your feet and remember all that you learned in your “training.” For instance, if you know that the vendor has other items for sale besides your target, agree easily to one of these other purchases. Go for the easy one first. That will lure them into trusting you and giving you an easy pass on future, and more important, deals.
When it comes down to it, negotiation is all about this kind of give and take. It works out best when both parties get what they want out of the deal, without feeling ripped off as if they gave too much for too little.
That brings you to the one “don’t” of negotiating. Don’t fear a standoff. They are part of the art and science of trading, so don’t be tempted to cave in just to break the deadlock. Instead, let your opponent make the first move. They will. They want to close the deal, too, don’t forget. You both will be better off for this in the long run. And you won’t end up like the NHL, the No Hockey League.
About The Author
Donald Lee is the public relations manager for Buysellcommunity.com. Buysellcommunity provides free classified listing services for individuals and businesses to market their products and services online. For global and localized classifieds, please visit http://www.buysellcommunity.com - Free Buy & Sell Classifieds
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