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Conflicting Conclusions and therefore Conflict of Interest

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35 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

The supposed rational party who e.g. states: Nothing to do with me if your factory was flooded/a supplier let you down/you were locked down by the Gvt./etc. - we had a deal - isn't being rational.

So what should said party have done or do that would be rational?

 

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I mentioned this upstream, but thought I'd show more of it here, hoping to encourage more of the scholarly-inclined to get this book and make it one of our tributaries to discussions here. (I personal

I mean, you've been asked a few times exactly why you have a different view. You began the discussion by suggesting that Rand didn't understand the "common meaning", and/or was really only talking abo

You keep giving different versions of the same scenario. I keep asking each time why you think it is a conflict of interest, or phrased differently, which interests conflict.  At this point it'

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3 hours ago, merjet said:

I agree. Ayn Rand said there are no conflicts of interest among rational men. However, does a rational person never does anything irrational (even if only in retrospect, but not before the doing) or have foresight so perfect that everything the rational person plans never meets a conflict of interest when implementing the plan? I say 'no'.

 

This comes back to the idea of whether what she means by "interests" are more like desires and wishes on the one hand or more like recognition or anticipation of objective values and property on the other.  It really comes down to what you are referring to when using the term.

The following is a response, however, it is directed to all in general, and not you personally.

 

I think the phrase "conflict of interest" is fraught with difficulty, even if it might have been the best phrase Rand could have used to convey her idea.

 

How else does one summarize this revolutionary idea?

Men might be interested in bringing about alternative actual rights in the same object, which would be mutually exclusive (e.g. they cant both have achieve the same object), but understanding freedoms and rights they fully accept that rightful and free competition is moral, and that once the competition is over rights are absolute and also moral.

This process is absent conflict in the sense that there is no irrational claim to entitlements outside of rights, either before attainment or during competition.

 

In a longer version, more as a story:

Two rational persons might identify the same object or aim as "in their interest".  Rational men also understand that the future actualization of that interest will change the object or aim into something subject to some rights.  They also realize that until they generate rights with respect to the object it simply remains on their radar, in their interest, and NOT subject to rights.  These rational men will compete as regards the object or aim towards securing rights in it and they fully understand and accept that striving as moral.  They also realize that in working towards that, all other rights and morals pertaining to civilization continue as always.... no assaulting your competitor, no indulging in irrational thoughts that one is entitled to something which one is not yet entitled to...

Once rights are generated rational men recognize them, and because they are rational they understand recognizing rights during the entire process supersedes any disappointment (not a loss... one never had that which one never had) over the particular failure to actualize interests in competition with others.
 

 

I think the IDEA Rand was conveying with the phrase "no conflicts of interest among rational men" is MORE IMPORTANT than any difficulties with the wording she chose, and CERTAINLY her idea supersedes any apparent inconsistency or idiosyncrasy arising out of an over technical parsing of her wording.  This is not scripture nor the constitution, and we are not trying to reveal the secrets of the divine or divine the intent of the Founding Fathers. Being neither priests nor scriveners billed on the hour, all we need to do is focus more on what idea she was communicating than debate the words she used to communicate it. 

 

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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On 4/14/2021 at 6:31 PM, merjet said:

2. Two rational businessmen sign a contract. Buyer B agrees to buy from supplier S. If the contract is simple, short-term, and no problems arise, then omniscience is not required. On the other hand, assume a long-term contract that is far more complicated. B and S negotiate and agree on the terms. They consider contingencies, and the written contract addresses the contingencies. Suppose all goes well for a while. Then a problem arises, a contingency that neither anticipated, and S can’t meet the terms of the contract. It may not even be S’s fault, but that of a third party. For example, a supplier to S or a spike in prices triggers the problem. B and S are both dissatisfied. Each considers the other inflexible given the circumstances. In other words, they have a conflict of interest. In order to have anticipated the problem and have written the contract to deal with it would have required omniscience.

Both are rational and they have a conflict of interest.

The contract sets up rights and obligations between the parties.  Contract law deals with the issues of determining the nature and extent of those rights in the context of those parties who contracted.

Are rights objective?

If so we can still come to different conclusion about them in a particular context, particularly if there is asymmetry of information. 

 

But ask yourself, is is in your interest to be in breach of a contract, to violate the rights of someone with whom you have contracted, in order to gain an unearned benefit be it wealth or avoidance of loss.  Is it in your interest to twist the wording, weasel out of a clause, or argue to impose unagreed-to terms you now wish you introduced when it was drafted? Is it in your interest to try to "get away with something" (and in such a manner not so be detected) in your dealings with other men?

Your answer will depend on whether you are rational or not, i.e. whether you fully and morally respect rights or not.

 

It is not in the interests of rational men to breach their contracts although they may disagree about what constitutes such a breach.

It is in the interests of both rational parties to uphold and honor the contract, and in that respect, they actually do not have a conflict of interest, notwithstanding the fact that they may have a disagreement about what is required under the contract.

 

But what if they persist in a disagreement?  I suppose that will depend upon your view of whether two rational persons can indefinitely disagree about something given the same evidence and provided with the same arguments (which I am sure they would exchange).  and THAT would depend upon your conception of the faculty of rationality and whether in and of itself it is flawed. 

 

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5 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Are rights objective?

If so we can still come to different conclusion about them in a particular context, particularly if there is asymmetry of information. 

Ultimately rights has to be objective otherwise a judge's judgement would be based on "subjective law".

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2 hours ago, merjet said:

So what should said party have done or do that would be rational?

 

What anyone with a commitment to reality would do. Telling the other - "I appreciate your difficulties, I take it you don't mind ... either a. re-scheduling to a later date or b. as I'm running short of time that I find another contractor".

Both understand that no one's interests are being sacrificed by the other.

Edited by whYNOT
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The term "harmony of interest" has been used at least since Adam Smith (link).  I don't know why Rand did not use it instead of "no conflicts of interest." "Harmony of interest" doesn't connote perfection like "no conflicts" does, at least to me.

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9 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

What anyone with a commitment to reality would do. Telling the other - "I appreciate your difficulties, I take it you don't mind ... either a. re-scheduling to a later date or b. as I'm running short of time that I find another contractor".

Suppose all that Buyer B wants from Supplier S is some monetary compensation for having to pay somebody else a higher price or not being able to get enough supply, but Supplier S won't pay. Then which one do you believe is irrational and hence only "supposedly" rational?

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10 minutes ago, merjet said:

"Harmony of interest" doesn't connote perfection like "no conflicts" does, at least to me.

I agree but since Objectivism, by definition, does not include an "emergency state" as being part of morality, it could connote a perfect "no conflicts". If one does not include the rare irrational moments. Including emergency in morality always throws a wrench in things.

"We now refer to this as a harmony of interests:  when people follow their self interest they inadvertently fill society’s interest. The way that Smith put it is that people, in the act of following their self-interest, end up serving the social interest, as though they were being guided by an invisible hand. 

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4 hours ago, merjet said:

However, does a rational person never does anything irrational (even if only in retrospect, but not before the doing)

Rand, when she talks about rational people, means people when they act rationally. She doesn't mean a state of always doing the rational thing without fail.

 

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4 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Rand, when she talks about rational people, means people when they act rationally. She doesn't mean a state of always doing the rational thing without fail.

Prove it with an exact citation. Her words, not yours.

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55 minutes ago, merjet said:

Suppose all that Buyer B wants from Supplier S is some monetary compensation for having to pay somebody else a higher price or not being able to get enough supply, but Supplier S won't pay. Then which one do you believe is irrational and hence only "supposedly" rational?

Is that covered by the old contract?

Is it in each of their separate interests to sign a further contract?  If in both their interests it would it be rational for each to do so, yes?  If not, it would be rational for one or both to decline.. no?

Is declining to make a further agreement because it is not in your interest somehow a "conflict"?

 

Is it ever in MY interest for YOU to act AGAINST your interest?

 

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55 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

"We now refer to this as a harmony of interests:  when people follow their self interest they inadvertently fill society’s interest. The way that Smith put it is that people, in the act of following their self-interest, end up serving the social interest, as though they were being guided by an invisible hand. 

Smith may have said this but it is so backward.  Accidental societal benefit is not some kind of justification for self-interest.  Self-interest, is the only justification for the existence and formation of society to begin with.

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This post was directed at merjet but I didn't post this in time.

It's just something you have to pick up on. It is nothing she said in those exact words, but after she mentioned so much about seeking to do the rational thing and using the right thinking methods to do so, there is no reason to think she meant that rational people are people who never fail to do the rational thing. You could even take Dagny in AS because she was portrayed as a rational person but that wasn't to say she never failed to act rationally like when she left the gulch for the sake of the railroad rather than herself. 

Rand isn't someone you can just read and say she only meant the explicit words for every single idea she had. There is always an element of figuring it out by piecing together the various essays. 

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49 minutes ago, merjet said:

Suppose all that Buyer B wants from Supplier S is some monetary compensation...

"All" that he "wants"? IOW, he wants to penalize S for some mishap beyond S's control? Like a force of nature or government decree, aka reality.

That's what rational men won't do, play the victim looking for someone to scapegoat. 

"You'll be hearing from my attorney!"

One might measure the rationality of a society by the number of lawyers.

 

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3 hours ago, whYNOT said:

"All" that he "wants"? IOW, he wants to penalize S for some mishap beyond S's control? Like a force of nature or government decree, aka reality.

That's what rational men won't do, play the victim looking for someone to scapegoat. 

"You'll be hearing from my attorney!"

One might measure the rationality of a society by the number of lawyers.

Huh? The buyer I described is not playing victim; he is a real victim. The buyer is not making a scapegoat. Assume the buyer had to pay a higher price to somebody else to obtain the supply he had contracted for with the supplier.  Do you consider the buyer irrational to (a) ask the supplier to make up for such price difference or (b) believe the supplier should have met the terms of the contract by buying from somebody else?

I do believe there are too many laws. On the other hand, lawyers aren't merely for the purpose of representing a plaintiff or defendant after a dispute arises. They may make contracts better before a dispute arises.

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1 hour ago, merjet said:

Huh? The buyer I described is not playing victim; he is a real victim.

Let's get this straight. MY factory is under water, had a wildcat strike, was locked down, or whatever, but the buyer is the "real victim"? Unsurprising there are "conflicts of interest", rational people are in short supply.

Do you have an idea of how many people had no choice but to default on their rents, loans, mortgages, child maintenance (etc.) and businessmen who were technically in breach of contract, this past year of dictatorial govt. interference? I don't but it must be in the many 100's of millions, globally.

A lesson in rationality, one can't get blood out of a stone. A rational businessman takes such things on the chin and moves on.

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2 hours ago, merjet said:

Do you consider the buyer irrational to (a) ask the supplier to make up for such price difference or (b) believe the supplier should have met the terms of the contract by buying from somebody else?

All of your questions are answered on page 1. You literally had this conversation already.

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The take-home point remains, that neither rational businessman was the victim/victimizer (self-sacrificer/sacrificer) of the other.

In their joint venture, their common interest was affected by unforeseen forces: nature - or Government. Not a "conflict" of interests, but a commonality.

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Conflicting Conclusions and therefore Conflict of Interest.

It is pretty simple from this perspective: 

"Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A."

Identify what a conflicting conclusion is. Determine that conclusion 'B' conflicts with conclusion 'C'. Therefore, either conclusion 'B' or conclusion 'C' may be 'A'. Alternatively, the possibility that neither conclusion 'B' nor conclusion 'C' may be 'A' exists.

Are the concluders of 'B' seeking to identify 'A' as 'A'? Are the concluders of 'C' seeking to identify 'A' as 'A'?

If both seek to identify 'A' as 'A', where is the conflict in the seekers interest?

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On 4/16/2021 at 6:28 PM, merjet said:

How so? I didn't make the example until page 4.

Just so nobody bothers to answer your questions again, everything you ask about convenience and on pages one and 2. Pages 3 and 4 are clarification. The rest is just particular questions that ET had for the most part. 

We talked about what interest means, what rational interests are, in differentiating between what one believes to be rational versus what is rational. 

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On 4/17/2021 at 12:01 PM, dream_weaver said:

Conflicting Conclusions and therefore Conflict of Interest.

It is pretty simple from this perspective: 

"Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A."

Identify what a conflicting conclusion is. Determine that conclusion 'B' conflicts with conclusion 'C'. Therefore, either conclusion 'B' or conclusion 'C' may be 'A'. Alternatively, the possibility that neither conclusion 'B' nor conclusion 'C' may be 'A' exists.

Are the concluders of 'B' seeking to identify 'A' as 'A'? Are the concluders of 'C' seeking to identify 'A' as 'A'?

If both seek to identify 'A' as 'A', where is the conflict in the seekers interest?

That full Branden explanation of rationality:

"...is our unreserved commitment to perceive reality to the best of our ability, a commitment to being conscious--an acceptance of reason an the ultimate arbiter and guide in matters of knowledge, values and action".

As you raise, can two generally rational persons "perceive reality" differently? (No).  Is one or both fully conscious the full time (as much as possible)? Perhaps not always. Can ¬the value¬ of objective values differ (while individually varying in form and hierarchy)? No.

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On 4/18/2021 at 2:21 AM, Eiuol said:

Just so nobody bothers to answer your questions again, everything you ask about convenience and on pages one and 2. Pages 3 and 4 are clarification. The rest is just particular questions that ET had for the most part. 

We talked about what interest means, what rational interests are, in differentiating between what one believes to be rational versus what is rational. 

Hey Eiuol, there's more to explore, don't shut this down yet. Merjet has brought up examples and asked some pertinent questions, albeit skeptical of Rand's proposition. If only as "devil's advocate" they are not simply answered and the applications and implications go much further. I think the topic is evergreen. 

E.g.

Could "interest" be defined as a combination of one's purpose, values and aims (that I tend towards)?

And

Can and will irrational actors logically have conflicts of interest? (Okay, an easy one, which can be reasoned and observed in practice).

And,

Is it feasible, indeed salutary, for a highly rational person (like an Objectivist) to admit he/she was wrong in some conflict of intellectual interest - conceding he was temporarily irrational? And so, ultimately validating the proposition... uncommon. 

Edited by whYNOT
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21 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

If only as "devil's advocate" they are not simply answered and the applications and implications go much further. I think the topic is evergreen. 

That would be fine, but he is repeating the same questions even after he received answers. New questions are great, but I think that people miss important information if you don't point out that these questions were asked at the beginning and answered at the beginning. My point is to expand discussion, rather than us going back to explain what has already been explained (and even if somebody disagrees about the explanation, the criticism should expand as well rather than reverting back to the identical criticisms repeatedly).

 

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