Analogy of unethical negotiations: history and present

María de Guadalupe Gaytán-Jiménez, Carlos López-Hernández


How similar are the cases of ethical scandals of Barclays and Enron to those of Dionysius of Syracuse and Aristotle of Rhodes? What do the scandals of Firestone and Madoff have to do with Cleómenes of Alexandria and Mausolus of Caria? In the first case, the topic is deception and in the second, threat. It is quite remarkable that situations described in literature 2400 years ago can still be documented in the current era. The issue of negotiations under unethical principles is not exclusive of the current era; cases documented by the philosopher Aristotle prove this. Among them are deception, abuse of power and authority, threats and unfulfilled promises, which benefit one of the parties. The importance of acting ethically is that its benefits are perceived in the long-term; whereas those of non-ethical behavior are in the short short-term. This new idea shows that there are similarities between unethical negotiations in historical cases and cases of the current era. It is concluded that it is necessary to be aware that these patterns have been and can be repeated, but also that actions have to be taken to prevent them.


Aristotle; ethics; history; negotiation

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