The current regulatory environment and monetary policy of the United States massively favors speculation. As such, businesses are out to make a buck as quickly as possible before multinational conglomerates and Fed-backed entities swallow everything up. This results in a business decorum that is more appropriate to a war time bazaar than a prosperous nation with long term prospects.
Insofar as we have choice and are not hamstrung by corporate or governmental policy, we do well to conduct our business and personal relations with the long term courtesy and grace that was once the hallmark of American industry.
There is a long-held belief in libertarian circles that the fee you agree on is the fee you agree on and there should be no hard feelings at all whatsoever because, after all, both parties voluntarily agreed to terms. This is stupid and a figment of some 20th century academic’s imagination, a dumb brainiac who showed up to America’s shores 130 years after its founding and brought a bit of Europe’s cut-throatery with him.
By simply refraining from squeezing every last red cent of savings out of a transaction with a private party, we are bringing a courtesy to business that will pay dividends for us in the future. You signal fairness on price or take on some inconvenience to yourself in the logistics so that not only do you have a better chance of securing long term business, you also are “in service” to the other party. As humans, we serve each other. It is the goodness of man that keeps far at bay the barbarity of “kill or be killed”.
To give an example, let’s say Doctor X generally charges to insurance. The regulatory environment changes, the middle class is decimated, and gradually he finds fewer and fewer patients with insurance coverage. Rather than consolidate himself with a hospital in order to scoop up patients funneled in through the ER, or open his practice up to government insured patients, he decides instead to charge cash for his services. In 2021 dollars, let’s say he charges $80 for a twenty minute check-up. His earnings go down. Many self-absorbed libertarians would have us believe he is “self-sacrificing” because he could be earning his standard $500 an hour or whatever by keeping in lockstep with the government and insurance companies. He didn’t grab every single penny available to him! Yet, he is doing a great service to the world. By his example, he is helping to deregulate the medical field and surely he will bring on other doctors of similar conscientiousness.
The same praise can be heaped on the life insurance salesman who fights his company brass in order to keep rates low. Or the farmer who doesn’t take such-and-such subsidy and shifts focus out of the corporate supply chain and into localism.
Doing the right thing is inconvenient in the short run. Being courteous is technically not efficient. Yet cheap goods make a cheap man. Some measure of risk, inconvenience, and care for your fellow man means you have true staying power and are destined to become a shining example of goodwill.
When you transact with moral people, instead of squeezing money out, try leaving a bit on the table and see what that turns into in the long run.