Let's start with avoiding problems. The biggest concern of any negotiator should be to ensure that the agreed terms are carried out and produce the desired outcome. But if, after the fact, one side determines that the deal was not fair, all bets are off. As a species, we reject cooperation with those we feel have taken advantage of us.

Several years ago a fascinating story appeared in the science journal Nature.[6] A study had been made of monkeys—not the higher-order apes who have been taught to speak in sign language or to use computers, but little organ-grinder monkeys. The experiment showed that they, like humans, get really mad when they are offered what they feel is an unfair deal.

The monkeys in the ...

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