Friday, May 12, 2006

Real values of honouring contracts, treaties

One of the fundamental and common characteristics of stable and civilised societies all over the globe is the recognition of the moral as well as self-interested need to honour contracts and treaties.

The need becomes more acute with those contracts and treaties which have been publicly, solemnly and officially reached with quid pro quo.

Morally, unilaterally breaching or violating contracts and treaties does not speak well of one's individual or societal character. It is also a very poor reflection or representation of the sense of honour and shame in the belief-system one claims to profess.

But what if one, despite his or her public claim about his or her religious credential and committment, is privately a Machiavellian who thinks that as long as one is strong and powerful, one could make and breach contracts or treaties like a big bully as he likes?

Well, that assumes one is forever strong and powerful everywhere or in all spheres. What if the violator of contracts and treaties becomes weak and the victim of the violation somehow turns strong?

What if even stronger and more powerful parties, having observed the Machiavellian behaviour of the violator of contracts and treaties against the weak, decide to also unilaterally breach or violate other contracts and treaties reached between themselves and the first violator?

Strengths and weaknesses are never absolute or unchanging but all relative in terms of time, space and actors :

1. One may be strong and powerful now but become weak later;

2. One may also be strong and powerful within a particularly territorial confine but very weak outside it;

3. One may be strong and powerful enough to bully a particular party, but there may be even stronger and powerful parties which are looking for precedents or justifications to bully the little perfidious rogue.


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