chapter  5
18 Pages

Justice in negotiation

Conflict between positions is the basis of democratic debate and the open society holds that truth appears only when conflicting positions are fully confronted publicly. When this debate is not allowed, stronger forms of conflict appear within states, but directed against their government, which in turn harnesses conflict to repress citizens and impose order. The management of conflict, or the process of turning conflict into order can follow a number of different forms. Institutionalized conflict is the nature of elections, legislation, and judicial proceedings, and other forms of government involve conflict less orderly. When institutions are not present to establish decision rules and hierarchies of authority, a looser form is required, known as negotiation. Negotiation is the mode of decision-making where the default decision rule is unanimity and therefore the parties are equal, that is, each has a veto. In negotiation, conflict between positions is overcome in a joint decision, without benefit of votes, institutions, or authorities. A minimum of order is a prerequisite, enough for the parties to communicate, but no more; even the decision rule itself is established only by unanimous agreement and is broken when there is no agreement. This amount of order is based on the characteristic mixedmotive situation, which requires both conflicting and common interests for the negotiation to take place – common interest in reaching agreement, which holds the process together, and conflicting interests to reconcile, which make the process necessary (Ikle 1964). All other processes to overcome conflict except force have already a higher prerequisite of order.