Fair Exchange

How can we protect ourselves from the self-serving who are after victims instead of prospects?

fair exchange is no robbery

How can we establish the framework and build trusted relationships that thrive on the foundations of a fair exchange of value? When sales move beyond the simple one-off transaction and get more complex, we need to make doubly sure that any arrangement we enter into is fair for both parties. This is where much time and effort can be expended in contract negotiations.


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For instance, think about the work that goes into international trade agreements. Think about the diplomacy, the international relationship management, the trade-offs and agreements that need to be worked out just to trade between nations. We must start from the viewpoint that everyone has a vested interest and the last thing they want is to come off second best.

terminology - What is a fair exchange scheme? - Cryptography Stack Exchange

Only sign what you are prepared to accept. There are many clauses that can bring us down if we are not careful.

It may be tedious and costly, but it is worth investing the time and effort if you want to work out if you can start and keep trading with any person or entity. What are you offering exactly and what is out of scope?

phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

Be clear with your clients about where your offer finishes. You will encounter people that always want more under the same deal. Be clear and specific from the get-go. On the other hand, be fair with what you offer and ensure your client perfectly understands your system, service or product.

Your Answer

Delivering an offering that cannot be of full use unless the client receives specific training or particular implementation and not including such things in the initial scope is not fair either. If you do this, everyone suffers. So make sure your customer service and implementation teams know what has been agreed to and what is expected of them in order to deliver on our promises.

If you perceive that the process is unfair, then you can also bring this up during a negotiation, effectively sending the whole show back to square one. The social needs for fairness make this a strong card to play. A particular area for ensuring fairness is to ensure decisions are fair, and the way to ensure decisions are fair in the criteria we use to decide. For example, deciding where go on holiday may use criteria of cost, near the sea, things to do, cater for children, etc.

A typical way to find fair criteria is to ask 'How shall we decide? This can result in a sub-negotiation about what actually is fair and not fair. The real test of fairness of a negotiation is in the results that both sides get. In an unfair negotiation, one person gets everything they want and the other person gets very little.

The meaning and origin of the expression: Fair exchange is no robbery

Fair results means that each person gets the important things that they need and gives up some of the less important things. In a zero-sum negotiation, there is a 'zone of fairness', in which one person does get more than the other, but not to the extent of such extremes as ruining them or otherwise causing them unfair hardship. Note that fairness is also a matter of skill and values. If one person is skilful in negotiating and has values that do not respect the other person, then they will happily 'take the other person to the cleaners' whilst considering them a hapless victim.

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