Human beings love bargains. There is something hardwired into our brains that makes us seek a good deal. Some cultures, especially the Indian and Chinese, have an extraordinarily sharp elbow around this tendency. But most human beings have it to some degree.
I have been thinking about Conscious Capitalism for a while. As you know, my version is titled Distributed, Democratic, Inclusive Capitalism.
Of late, triggered by certain personal experiences, I have come to conclude that this very human tendency of driving a hard bargain, especially if you are rich, is counterproductive to a healthy social order.
Let me explain.
This summer, I organized a large event in India. Among the various individuals and small businesses that I worked with were those who built the tent, those who provided the chairs, a videographer, a number of professional musicians, a caterer, a sound engineer, an electrician, so on.
I did not negotiate prices with any of them. I decided upfront that supporting these professionals in an honorable way is the best kind of philanthropy that I could possibly engage in. I am not looking for the cheapest vendor. I am looking for someone trustworthy who does good work and is trying to make an honest living. I am happy to pay a premium to engage such a person/team.
Yes, this takes away from other ways I can contribute. I could be donating to any number of philanthropic organizations.
But I prefer this method.
I like supporting human enterprise.
If we take my logic further, we would arrive at the question: Should We STOP Bargaining, START Paying More? Please weigh in. I am listening.