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Monday, June 20, 2011

Atmosphere as a Determining Factor

FTA Negotiations in Seoul
Atmosphere is often a conducive and determinative factor in human behavior.  Major decisions can be as dependent upon it as much as or more so than the other factors bearing on a decision.  A good atmosphere carries with it feelings that are positive and optimistic. One comes to like one’s counterpart in the decision process and a desire arises to realize mutual benefits.  Good atmospherics can be destroyed by apparently minor but symbolically significant initial nonperformance—as arriving late for an appointment or displaying a lack of good judgment in what is appropriate.  There is a feeling that if the other party is so fundamentally flawed that they cannot judge what is appropriate regarding simple matters, how can they be trusted in large matters?  For example if one expects one or a few players on each negotiating team, for one side to come with an army can sabotage a good atmosphere  and result in irretrievable damage.  A sense that the other party has good judgment can be decimated at the outset.  No one wants to make deals with fools, for fools can be unaware of their own desires and capacities.  This can spell major problems in the future for the performance of any forthcoming agreement.  A reliable agreement depends upon reliable negotiators.  Atmosphere is no substitute for substance, but likewise substance alone is futile without an agreeable atmosphere.

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