In the past, a person’s word was sufficient to form a binding contract. Nowadays one’s word is meaningless and even if you get something in writing, people can claim they didn’t understand what they were agreeing to or that they were temporarily insane when they signed it. Litigation pervades business transactions and people constantly search for loopholes in order to subvert the intention of a law to satisfy their own interests. With all the efforts to get away with as much as possible with a seeming disregard for any sort of value system, one wonders what happened to our ethics. Why does our word no longer have any clout in formal agreements? It’s hard to know what happened, but as individuals, we can act in such a way that others will be able to trust what we tell them. It will take time and consistent behavior, but in the end, it’s a much better way to live.


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  1. congrats on graduation and happy birthday (belated)

    Comment by whaleman on April 30, 2006 @ 6:22 pm
  2. Thanks, I appreciate it.

    Comment by dan on May 1, 2006 @ 7:29 pm
  3. Hmm — not entirely sure I agree with you on this one, Dan. As far as I understand it, oral and/or express contracts are, in fact, binding, and though my faith in humanity wanders somewhere between unfailing and non-existent depending on the day, my faith in case law and Constitutional spirit is strong — and well based, I think. People can claim to be agreeing to contracts under duress (not temporary insanity, as far as I know, but duress — sure), but I think that argument is largely ineffective and often used only as a matter of rote answer to whatever breech-of-contract complaint is being served against them.

    Or maybe you’re just writing this to finish an assignment — the generalizations you make seem quite, um, general. ;)

    Comment by Karalyn on May 3, 2006 @ 11:29 pm
  4. Karalyn: It was for an assignment, and it was only allowed to be a paragraph, so I wasn’t able to delve into the subject matter. However, from my experience oral agreements are not binding. You’re probably right about the duress issue. I’ll try to be more specific next time :)

    Comment by dan on May 4, 2006 @ 9:05 am
  5. Okay Dan, but I hope that your experience w/ unfulfilled oral contracts is minimal. ;)

    Comment by Karalyn on May 4, 2006 @ 4:16 pm
  6. I appreciate that. Although it hasn’t reached epidemic proportions, it has happened more than I would have liked.

    Comment by dan on May 5, 2006 @ 8:35 am

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