Pure Bargaining Versus Joint Problem-Solving

There are two diametrically opposed negotiating approaches: pure bargaining (PB) and joint problem-solving (JPS). PB is a way to cut up a pie; who gets what? The more you get, the less I get.
 JPS is a method for increasing the size of the pie.

Because JPS increases the size of the pie, there is more for everyone, and concentrating on it should benefit everyone. Its superiority has been demonstrated by the extreme wealth of western societies. One reason for our wealth is that we tend to be problem-solvers with its related values: objective analysis of information, relatively open communications, and emphasis upon trust.

Societies that emphasize bargaining, such as many Third World countries, are much poorer. They spend so much time and energy dividing up the pie that they don’t make enough of it. Tribal, caste religious, class, and other conflicts take too much of their time and energy; trust is minimal; objectivity and openness are rare, even despised.

However, there is another side to the story. The problem-solving approach benefits both parties only if they both use it. If one side is problem-solving, while the other is bargaining, the problem-solver will usually be exploited.

This pattern has occurred again and again in diplomatic and trade negotiations. America has the military and economic power, but it often gets terrible deals. As Donald Trump has repeatedly stated, “We got taken”

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