Why Each One Should Eat His Own Turtles: Equality in Uncertainty

A Customer is Born Every Day

I have learned a lesson from my own naive experiences,

The Price of Corn in Rhodes

So, “giving advice” as a sales pitch is fundamentally unethical –selling cannot be deemed advice. We can safely settle on that. You can give advice, you can sell (by advertising the quality of the product) and the two need to be kept separate.

Equality in Uncertainty

Which brings us to the notion of asymmetry, the core concept behind skin in the game. The question becomes: to what extent can people in a transaction have an informational differential between them? The ancient Mediterranean and, to some extent the modern world, seems to be converging to Antipater’s position. While we have “buyer beware” (caveat emptor) in the Anglo-Saxon West, the idea is rather new, and never general, often mitigated by lemon laws. So to the question voiced by Cicero of a debate between the two ancient stoics, “If a man knowingly offers for sale wine that is spoiling, ought he to tell his customers?” , the world is getting closer to Diogenes position of transparency, not necessarily via regulations as much as thanks to tort laws, one’s ability to sue for harm in the event the seller deceived him. Tort laws put some skin in the game back into the seller –which is why they are reviled, hated by corporations. But tort laws have side effects –they can only be used in a nonnaive way, that is, in a way they cannot be gamed.



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