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The opposite of war is the pursuit of mutual benefit.

Can rank from completely intolerable to barely tolerable to maximally desirable. 

Can talk about giving, exchange, fair exchange, exploitative exchange, taking, theft.  Also, friendship and fun.

Often there's talk of "winning" verses "losing".  Such as "win-win" or "win-lose" or "lose-lose".  But maybe there's also a "neutral" or "draw" between win and lose.  Also, any "win" or "lose" might not be of equal magnitude.  Even in "win-win", someone might be winning more than the other in some way.


One excuse for appalling exchanges is often "they were free to accept or refuse my deal". Sometimes a bit of value relativism is thrown in, "hey, I don't know what they like, there's no way I can even evaluate if this deal is good for them at all or completely horrible".

Aside from the cases where, no, they are hardly "free", there could be other issues with that. It strikes me a bit like defending lies by saying "people are free to accept what I said as true or not". I mean, yes, sure. And we're free to recognize something about you that we don't like and that we are justified in opposing. In the case of truth and lies, it's dishonesty that we don't like. In the case of agreements, maybe it's something like a duty of care.

If beliefs aren't intellectually honest or made with intellectual honesty (like if you couldn't do an intellectually honest job of backing them up), then stating them as true isn't honest, even if you feel like you believe them. Similarly, if agreements aren't formed without knowing or weighing in the benefit to the other person, we could say something about that.

Probably one of the worst kinds of deals is something like the following:

You somehow become trapped due to some accident. Someone comes along and sees you'll starve to death there if they don't help. They offer to bring you food every day if you do work for them, but they won't free you (even though maybe they easily could if they wanted to).

This deal doesn't address the reason that the deal is needed. Is that what's wrong with it? Maybe that's one thing that's wrong with it. If the person making the offer could free the trapped person, or get help, the question of whether the offer can be refused can be controlled by the person making the offer. That seems note worthy. The person making the offer could free the other, then offer the same deal: food for work.

Of course if the trapped person can't be freed, then they aren't "free" to accept or refuse all such deals. This more closely resembles the case of people with certain extreme disabilities, like spinal injuries in the neck.

See also