Donald Trump never met a transaction from which he could not walk away a “winner.”
Winning, you see, is the essential definition of “smart business” — at least in the world according to Trump.
But we live in a world which has more to it than merely a series of transactions. Relationships, context and nuance all matter.
Maybe they don’t if you have enough economic resources to not care if no one really wants a relationship with you.
But, most of us do not have such levels of economic resources. Instead we have emotional, cognitive, and psychological resources — all of which depend heavily on relationships.
The Donald obviously never learned such lessons. Screw your contractors and vendors. Get other people to cover the cost of your charitable commitments. Take credit for the good works of others — after all you spoke to them or of them (or perhaps intended to). Life in this view is a series of transactions.
Transactions happen one at a time. They can be viewed as occurring within their own closed off world. The architect who did not get paid .. he settled. Of course he did (as did almost everyone else), Trump threatened to deploy millions of dollars in legal expenses. The idea was to create an illusion — you can’t afford to sue Trump. The illusion created leverage.
Now the Donald could get you on the cheap. 60 cents on the dollar. Maybe 70 cents. His excuse would always be that the work was not good enough. Of course it wasn’t — at least at full price. But, at 60 cents, it was nothing but the best. Believe him.
Don’t take my word for it. Take Donald’s. Or at least his ghostwriters.
Donald Trump on Monday told us that to root for the housing crisis was smart business. So too was cheating your vendors and contractors. And not paying taxes. It is going to be beautiful.
In economics there is a term for such people — free riders. They seek to benefit by taking advantage of the social rules which allow our society to flourish. If you get too many of them, you evoke the tragedy of the commons. Society sets itself up to avoid this tragedy but some free riding will remain.
The aristocrats of old were free riders. But many of them understood that free riding was abusive and offset some of it at least with Noblesse Oblige.
Not the Donald. He uses “Not UnLess For Me” The only similarity is the number of syllables and that both start with N and end with e.
Donald’s “smart business” means that no one wants to do business with the Donald if they have other choices. I know I don’t. His hotels may be “nice” but they are priced over the top and do not deliver any value for money — just the illusion. Everything he touches gets branded with a T. Trump thinks it means “touche” — most of us think it means “tasteless.”
If Monday night proved anything it was that the Donald thinks that this transactions based view of day to day affairs is good not just for business but for government. Relationships do not matter. Nor does context. Nor nuance.
Cut taxes on the wealthy. It will be a beautiful thing says the man who already does not pay taxes and outsources as much as possible away from US jobs and US contractors. Not that he could not get better services and things in the US — he could. But, he wants his “beautiful” on the cheap. 60 cents on the dollar. And American suppliers have caught on.
The Donald feels the same way about the “truth.” That is an obsolete full price concept — an albatross around the neck of a would be smart businessman. Truthiness (thanks Steven Colbert) is becoming Trumpiness. Both refer to the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true. As Colbert put it, “Truthiness is ‘What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true.’ It’s not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There’s not only an emotional quality, but there’s a selfish quality.” All Donald … all the time.
In Trump’s truthiness relationships just do not matter. Only transactions. Relations are built on the idea of respect — a quality the Donald has never met. Respect is to treat as if seen again and again (‘re’ meaning “again” and ‘spect’ meaning “to view”). By contrast, in the Donald’s world you are a one-off.
Relationships have partners, colleagues, and interactions. One-off transactions have winners and losers. The Donald lives in the world of the one-off.
This is NOT how foreign relations work. It is not called foreign transactions (although maybe that is what Donald thought from his days at Wharton).
Relations are built on the idea of respect — a quality the Donald has never met. Respect is to treat as if seen again and again (‘re’ meaning “again” and ‘spect’ meaning “to view”). In the Donald’s world you are a one off.
He would dispute this. He has great respect (like his great temperament). But, it is reserved for those in the inner circle.
The smart businessman is a narcissist. All that matters is that judged as truthy by this privileged self.
The Donald talks about making America great again — on whose back and at what cost?
America is great. And it will be even greater — once it rids itself of Donald and of the Trumpian idea that transactions are how we define life.
That is my truth or truthiness or Trumpiness.
And to think, six months ago I was writing how DJT would be our next president.
Read it here first folks. I was wrong. And like the Arizona Republic, I realize:
we need Hillary Clinton.