PREVENTING AND BREAKING IMPASSE BY UNDERSTANDING THE  SYMBOLIC MEANING OF MONEY
Inga A. Watkins <ul><li>Watkins Law and Dispute Resolution PLC </li></ul><ul><li>Doctoral candidate, George Mason Universi...
Victoria Pynchon <ul><li>ADR Services, Inc., Century City, California </li></ul><ul><li>AAA Expedited Commercial Panel </l...
<ul><li>Voluntary monetary transfers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>responsibility for consequences of wrongdoing,  </li></ul></ul>...
What role does money play? <ul><li>the most emotionally meaningful object in contemporary life;  </li></ul><ul><li>common ...
Even though there are some things money can’t buy . . .   <ul><li>“ its inability to purchase even happiness is “cast in d...
<ul><li>Rationalizing our Use of Money </li></ul><ul><li>Putting $$ into savings at 3% while paying credit card interest a...
Peeling the Onion  of Injustice
Money Communicates Responsibility,  Sympathy, Remorse & Expresses Community Values <ul><li>Voluntary monetary transfers de...
American Metric for Injustice is Money   Money reduces the qualities of dissimilar experiences into similar ones by using ...
Injustices that the law will rectify  dwarfed by the injustices it will not.  Many non-actionable injustices are considere...
“ Objective” Actionable Injustice commensurates Wrongs Stories are subsumed in legal theory.  Facts exist simply to be plu...
Who monetizes injustice? <ul><li>MEDIATOR AND LAWYERS TELLING LEGAL STORIES? </li></ul><ul><li>CLIENTS TELLING BROADER STO...
DAY IN COURT =  PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MORAL WRONGDOING The primary reason such a great percentage of the 9-11 victims’...
Story telling <ul><li>Changes relationship between parties </li></ul><ul><li>Alters perceptions of the other’s legitimate ...
Wrongful Burial Practices Case:  Mediation of Case against Original Owner after $3.2 million settlement for the 2d owner’s...
1 st  settlement <ul><li>Source of $$:  legal malpractice action re indemnification for transfer </li></ul><ul><li>2d owne...
Role Play <ul><li>Original cemetery owner </li></ul><ul><li>Matriarch of African-American family </li></ul><ul><li>Mediato...
HOW TO USE NARRATIVE <ul><li>  NARRATIVE VIEWS ALL EVENTS  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TAKING PLACE WITHIN  </li></ul></ul><ul><...
Language shapes <ul><li>  Sense of who we are </li></ul><ul><li>What our needs and interests are </li></ul><ul><li>What we...
<ul><li>the system is race/gender/class relations in the socio-cultural, norms, values and beliefs of the society </li></u...
Externalizing conversation <ul><ul><li>CREATES OPENINGS FOR REVISION OF THE  CONFLICT NARRATIVE TO STORY WITH ALTERNATIVE ...
Reconstruct Conflict Story <ul><li>Parties author new conflict narrative  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>new interpretation of othe...
Preventing or Breaking Impasse <ul><li>  The Mediator’s goal  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>interrupt cycles of interaction focuse...
Corrective Justice <ul><li>the re-establishment of the moral balance between  the parties to a dispute; a form of public a...
Money Communicates Intent and Societal, Moral and Business Values
We remain  ambivalent  about valuing physical injuries and loss of life In every society with surplus wealth, legal system...
Cautions for Mediators <ul><li>Influence outcome by giving more legitimacy to certain stories than others </li></ul><ul><l...
More cautions <ul><li>Mediators  preserve, delete or transform the parties conflict story by how they formulate, describe,...
CONCLUSION <ul><li>It’s never “just about money.” </li></ul><ul><li>Peel the Onion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate conflic...
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THE SYMBOLIC MEANING OF MONEY AND NEGOTIATION IMPASSE

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This is a presentation to be given at the Annual American Bar Association's Annual Meeting of its Dispute Resolution Section in San Francisco by Victoria Pynchon and Inga Watkins.

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  • Mediators: (1) rationalize value in monetary terms; and, (2) explain the exchange of QUALITY OF LIFE vs. money.
  • White &amp; Asian babies (birth) Death (HMO’s; transplants)
  • THE SYMBOLIC MEANING OF MONEY AND NEGOTIATION IMPASSE

    1. 1. PREVENTING AND BREAKING IMPASSE BY UNDERSTANDING THE SYMBOLIC MEANING OF MONEY
    2. 2. Inga A. Watkins <ul><li>Watkins Law and Dispute Resolution PLC </li></ul><ul><li>Doctoral candidate, George Mason University, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Adjunct Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law </li></ul><ul><li>Co-chair, Mediation Committee, American Bar Association, Section of Dispute Resolution </li></ul>
    3. 3. Victoria Pynchon <ul><li>ADR Services, Inc., Century City, California </li></ul><ul><li>AAA Expedited Commercial Panel </li></ul><ul><li>Int’l Institute of Conflict Prevention and Resolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Panelist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Member, Diversity Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><li>LL.M Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Member, Standing Committee on ADR, State Bar of California </li></ul><ul><li>Owner, Pynchon Negotiation Seminars </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Voluntary monetary transfers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>responsibility for consequences of wrongdoing, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sympathy less fortunate, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>solidarity with members of suffering community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>obligation to family members </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Socially mandated transfers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fines, damages, child support, social security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>express group norms. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Norms establishing the amount of money that should be paid in these different circumstances </li></ul><ul><ul><li>convey meaning re what obligation one set of people has to another </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how much recipients deserve from these others. </li></ul></ul>WHAT DOES THE TRANSFER OF MONEY MEAN?
    5. 5. What role does money play? <ul><li>the most emotionally meaningful object in contemporary life; </li></ul><ul><li>common carrier of strong and diverse feelings, significances, and strivings. </li></ul><ul><li>“ invested with a variety of fears, obsessions and inhibitions that distort its serviceability for market calculations.” </li></ul><ul><li>projection of emotional and psychological values of money far exceeds money’s relative economic (rational) value. </li></ul><ul><li>attitudes toward money are entirely independent of a person's income. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Even though there are some things money can’t buy . . . <ul><li>“ its inability to purchase even happiness is “cast in doubt when life (e.g. children, surrogate motherhood), death (e.g. contract murder, abortion), [and] love (e.g. bridesprice, prostitution, contributions, philanthropy) are all bought and sold with money.” </li></ul><ul><li>Wilson, Valerie, THE SECRET LIFE OF MONEY: EXPOSING THE PRIVATE PARTS OF PERSONAL MONEY (1999) at 58. </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>Rationalizing our Use of Money </li></ul><ul><li>Putting $$ into savings at 3% while paying credit card interest at 18% </li></ul><ul><li>“ saving” $$ by buying things “on sale” </li></ul><ul><li>spending unexpected windfalls on luxuries while continuing to worry about retirement </li></ul><ul><li>ignoring “sunk” costs </li></ul><ul><li>Treating differently </li></ul><ul><li>$$ earned by women life partners </li></ul><ul><li>$$ earned by children </li></ul><ul><li>$$ given to children </li></ul><ul><li>$$ received as gifts </li></ul><ul><li>$$ won in gambling </li></ul>Having Money: security, status and self-esteem. But “What good does it do you to own the stars” <ul><li>Earmarking Money </li></ul><ul><li>lavish weddings </li></ul><ul><li>expensive funerals </li></ul><ul><li>ivy league educations (social capital) </li></ul><ul><li>travel </li></ul><ul><li>gifts </li></ul><ul><li>charity in response to national disasters (i.e., 9-11) </li></ul>
    8. 8. Peeling the Onion of Injustice
    9. 9. Money Communicates Responsibility, Sympathy, Remorse & Expresses Community Values <ul><li>Voluntary monetary transfers demonstrate acceptance of responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, sympathy for those less fortunate, solidarity with members of a community that has suffered misfortune, or obligation to family members or others. </li></ul><ul><li>Socially mandated transfers--in the form of fines, civil damages, alimony, child support, social security payments, or taxes-- express group norms. </li></ul><ul><li>Norms establishing the amount of money that should be paid in these different circumstances convey meaning about how large an obligation one set of people has to another and how much recipients deserve from these others. </li></ul>
    10. 10. American Metric for Injustice is Money Money reduces the qualities of dissimilar experiences into similar ones by using a common metric. In law, the metric is the cause the action, comprised of pre-determined elements that give rise to a right to redress in a Court of law. On being fired from her job as party planner and celebrity magnet at the Hollywood Roosevelt and Beverly Hills Tropicana Hotels, Ms. Demme said, “I feel accomplished at what I did. I feel hurt at what went down. And I have a lawyer who will deal with my hurt.” New York Times April 16, 2006
    11. 11. Injustices that the law will rectify dwarfed by the injustices it will not. Many non-actionable injustices are considered frivolous claims. Because the parties’ “interests” almost always include non-actionable injustices, mediators can address the entire world of injustice. Actionable injustices * * Much larger than actual size World of Injustice
    12. 12. “ Objective” Actionable Injustice commensurates Wrongs Stories are subsumed in legal theory. Facts exist simply to be plugged into legal theory, and facts that cannot find a home in some legal element are deemed virtually irrelevant. The process of theory development is quantifiable, neat, and quite sterile.
    13. 13. Who monetizes injustice? <ul><li>MEDIATOR AND LAWYERS TELLING LEGAL STORIES? </li></ul><ul><li>CLIENTS TELLING BROADER STORY OF THE DISPUTE? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WHERE ONE WAY OF THINKING AND TALKING IS DOMINANT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some experiences become privileged </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some experiences are excluded </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. DAY IN COURT = PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MORAL WRONGDOING The primary reason such a great percentage of the 9-11 victims’ families were reluctant to sign up for the Compensation Fund was their desire to “get their apology or acknowledgement of fault and responsibility from some group or organization” rather than to simply accept money for their losses. Tyler & Thorisdottir 2003:361-362.
    15. 15. Story telling <ul><li>Changes relationship between parties </li></ul><ul><li>Alters perceptions of the other’s legitimate needs/interests </li></ul><ul><li>Commonalities transcending prejudice </li></ul>Not kumbaya
    16. 16. Wrongful Burial Practices Case: Mediation of Case against Original Owner after $3.2 million settlement for the 2d owner’s liability <ul><li>Cemetery shut down by State (bones) </li></ul><ul><li>Original owner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherited map </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>__________’s slough </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2d owner paid $3.2 million to settle </li></ul><ul><li>9 plaintiffs – 7 buried family members </li></ul><ul><li>“ Today, a ‘credible plaintiff with a close family member in a poorly maintained cemetery’ has a ‘fair market loss value’ of approximately $35,000 per survivor per body.” </li></ul><ul><li>Fair mkt value $2.205 million </li></ul>
    17. 17. 1 st settlement <ul><li>Source of $$: legal malpractice action re indemnification for transfer </li></ul><ul><li>2d owner covered under ‘cemetery endorsement’ that 1 st owner didn’t have </li></ul><ul><li>plaintiffs’ attorney: great track record multi-million dollar verdicts for “frivolous” cases </li></ul><ul><li>Urban Court known as “the bank” </li></ul><ul><li>Defense costs to point of trial would be at least $400,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Filmed disinterment provoke a jury into making an unprecedented award to the family </li></ul><ul><li>The references on the historic cemetery maps to ‘_____ slough’ could easily ignite the jury vs. both defendants </li></ul>
    18. 18. Role Play <ul><li>Original cemetery owner </li></ul><ul><li>Matriarch of African-American family </li></ul><ul><li>Mediator </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtain story of family’s distress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtain story of historic wounds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtain story of owner’s resentment </li></ul></ul>But first let’s talk narrative
    19. 19. HOW TO USE NARRATIVE <ul><li>  NARRATIVE VIEWS ALL EVENTS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TAKING PLACE WITHIN </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BEING SHAPED OR INFLUENCED BY LARGER STORIES IN CULTURAL CONTEXT. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MEDIATOR DISCERNS WAY IN WHICH STORY HAS DEVELOPED INDIVIDUALLY BUT ALSO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IN CONTEXT OF LARGER STORY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NO OBJECTIVE FACTS </li></ul></ul>WHAT IS THE CLAIMS ADJUSTER’S STORY; PRESSURES; PLACE IN PECKING ORDER; NEEDS; HOW DOES HE/SHE VALUE MONEY; WHAT DOES SETTLEMENT MEAN TO JOB, FAMILY, SELF-ESTEEM?
    20. 20. Language shapes <ul><li>  Sense of who we are </li></ul><ul><li>What our needs and interests are </li></ul><ul><li>What we believe we’re entitled to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social norms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural norms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Legal money vs. equitable money </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyer money vs. client money </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyer justice vs. client justice </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyer dispute vs. client dispute </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>the system is race/gender/class relations in the socio-cultural, norms, values and beliefs of the society </li></ul><ul><li>reinforced by policies, traditions and procedures of institutions/organizations </li></ul><ul><li>surface in the patterns of interaction and feelings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>between the parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>between the parties, on one hand, and you as a neutral on the other </li></ul></ul><ul><li>specific issues presented and reactions of both parties and the neutral may be nested within these structural sub-systems and relational systems. </li></ul>Presenting Conflict /Dispute may have a multi-level source, each which may be nested in the other
    22. 22. Externalizing conversation <ul><ul><li>CREATES OPENINGS FOR REVISION OF THE CONFLICT NARRATIVE TO STORY WITH ALTERNATIVE INTEPRETATIONS AND MEANINGS OF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AND WHAT MAY HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE. </li></ul></ul></ul>Plaintiff’s story Defendant’s story
    23. 23. Reconstruct Conflict Story <ul><li>Parties author new conflict narrative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>new interpretation of other’s actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New interpretation of relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mediator </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasizes commonalities & unrecognized agreements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  solicits experiences outside plot line of conflict story </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Preventing or Breaking Impasse <ul><li>  The Mediator’s goal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>interrupt cycles of interaction focused on blame, guilt, accusation and denial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These are states that cause impasse </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Corrective Justice <ul><li>the re-establishment of the moral balance between the parties to a dispute; a form of public accountability and a “legal symbol of society’s commitment to recognize the dignity and bodily security of each individual . </li></ul>
    26. 26. Money Communicates Intent and Societal, Moral and Business Values
    27. 27. We remain ambivalent about valuing physical injuries and loss of life In every society with surplus wealth, legal systems have evolved to replace vengeance and feud with systems of monetary compensation (blood money, wergeld or composition) for personal and commercial losses. Ancient Babylonia and Anglo-Saxon legal codes contained schedules of payments for common types of personal wrongs such as killing, maiming and theft.”
    28. 28. Cautions for Mediators <ul><li>Influence outcome by giving more legitimacy to certain stories than others </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize certain concerns and aspects of the parties’ stories than others </li></ul><ul><li>Interpret what is being said based on own attitudes, beliefs and experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Marginalize one party’s story by how it is reframed </li></ul><ul><li>Invite or discourage one party from </li></ul><ul><ul><li>developing story more than the other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contradicting other’s story more </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. More cautions <ul><li>Mediators preserve, delete or transform the parties conflict story by how they formulate, describe, explain, characterize, expand, translate, differentiate, summarize, acknowledge, validate, legitimize and delegitimize what is said during the mediation. </li></ul>
    30. 30. CONCLUSION <ul><li>It’s never “just about money.” </li></ul><ul><li>Peel the Onion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate conflict (among the people) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underlying societal conflict (of the people) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nested layers of conflict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distributive Justice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Equity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Equality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>need </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Money meanings of the stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Psychological </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sociological </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Historic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Narrative process to resolve or prevent impasse </li></ul>
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