The Deal With The Devil

This is a highly partisan opinion piece and as such is not subject to civil debate but is considered well argued enough to be posted.

Despite having supposedly been the author of a book entitled, ‘The Art of the Deal’, Donald Trump does not understand how deals work, does not understand why deals work, does not revere the true ‘art’ of the deal.

The deal is a wonderful act. It allows people, governments, business entities to cooperate and move on, to progress, to heal. The proverbial ‘good deal’ is a moving target because of people like Donald Trump who only consider the deal that directly impacts their immediate wallet or their prestige to be good. The true good deal benefits all those entering into it to as near an equal amount as possible. The true ‘good deal’ is a sober positive experience that lends somewhat more pleasure than trepidation to all sides but rarely triggers uproarious celebration unless it means the end of blood letting.

Central to the ‘deal’ is the keeping of the deal. At the heart of deal making is the good will and willingness of the deal makers to abide by the terms of the deal. If a side of the deal later determines that they should have made a more advantageous deal for themselves or that the climate in which the deal was made has changed in their favor, they keep their accords anyway, they keep their word and abide by the deal anyway. As we said as kids, ‘a deal is a deal’.

Folks like Donald Trump tend to make deals and then renege. They often get away with it in the short term because they recognize the inability of the other side to enforce the terms of the deal. They stiff workers, they intimidate those with less resources or those more timid than them to allow them to break the deal. They are not deal makers, they do not recognize or revere the ‘deal’ as a positive instrument of mutual benefit and certainly don’t understand the ‘art’ of the deal. They are no  more good deal makers than is a mobster who buys his favorite Italian restaurant as a hangout  a good restaurateur.

You can not break deals merely because you feel that you can make a better one unless you specified the terms and conditions of renegotiations in the deal. You can not preemptively break deals because you claim that you feel that the other side may cheat on the deal unless you have clear evidence that indeed they are cheating on the deal or have plans to do so. You certainly can not break deals because you envy or hate the person that made the deal on your organization’s behalf.

If you do not honor the deal, that is keep your accords, then eventually no one will want to make deals with you. Your short-term gloating and advantage will eventually do difficult to repair greater harm to your reputation or to your entity’s reputation. Eventually there will be only one entity that will do a deal with you, one that knows it can’t be cheated. Soon you will have to make a deal with the devil.


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