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View Diary: The Myth of the "Consensual" Marketplace (124 comments)

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  •  the reality of bargaining parity (7+ / 0-)

    Think of how many times in your life you are engaged in some sort of transaction and you are handed something to sign. In almost every case these documents are take-it-or-leave it contracts of adhesion where you have no opportunity to negotiate terms. The terms of the deal are: you sign the paper or you don't get the good, service, job, or whatever is in question.

    Even better, the person (when there is a person - unlike with the EULA that you have to agree to to use anything computerized) who is handing you this thing to sign almost never has the authority to negotiate terms with you. For the average person this makes for a pretty miserable economic life when you stop to think about it. Commercial entities are constantly using brute economic force to dictate terms to their customers and you don't really have much recourse. If you don't acquiesce to these contracts you are not going to have a checking account, a home mortgage, a telephone, credit card, etc.

    All that said, to some degree I understand the logic behind it. It would be insane for the phone company to have 10,000,000 different contracts with its individual customers. If we are going to have an ecomony based on mass consumption there needs to be some degree of uniformity.

    You don't have to think very hard about it to see that people who live by an ideology where we are all individual actors free to operate in the marketplace are living in a fantasy world.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 01:56:34 PM PDT

    •  Yes, and you raise an important issue. (6+ / 0-)

      If the bank, phone company, cable company, etc. are going to dish out boilerplate contracts to 10 million people, then the terms of those contracts need to be negotiated by representatives of those 10 million people in concert - not just shoved in the face of 10 million powerless individual consumers to take or leave agreements that overwhelmingly benefit the company at their expense.

      Business doesn't distinguish between making money and taking money.

      by Troubadour on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 02:18:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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