Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wow, that blouse is really transparent


I should have written about this a while ago, but was too lazy. Again my fucking habit of procrastinating has served me well and Mathew Yglesias has picked up the slack.

Transparency is a good thing in many contexts. I don’t think it’s a good thing in the specific context of negotiations. The place to negotiate is behind closed doors. What should be transparent is the decision and its implementation. But I know many disagree.

I think it’s worth thinking about this in other contexts, though. Think about a family negotiation over whose house you spend the holidays at, or who goes to watch Billy’s soccer game on Saturday. At the end of the day, wouldn’t everyone be worse off if the whole extended clan had the right to watch the negotiation on C-SPAN? More to the point, wouldn’t knowledge that the proceedings were going to be seen by others bias the negotiation. If your husband says “you don’t even like your cousin John” then you more or less have to protest and insist that you do too like him and any proposal predicated on the idea that you don’t like him needs to be rejected.


That is exactly why the House closed the doors to cameras while working on HCR (read insurance in place of HC).

Without the ability to negotiate safely, the husband will not even mention John or you'll have to defend yourself. Honest negotiation is impossible. In either case John has tremendous control over the negotiation.
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