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What if women had been in charge of the US debt talks?

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Summary of story Huffpostwomen, August 4, 2011

Management consultant Dr Sasha Galbraith wonders how the recent US debt talks would have gone, had women been in charge.

She posits that:

First, women in charge of such a crucial negotiation would not let testosterone get the better of them. The posturing, strutting and “acting out” by the men in Congress is a direct result of testosterone gone wild under stress.

You see this most often on Wall Street where stress and big-money decisions are the order of the day. Michael Lewis called those guys “Big Swinging Dicks” and Tom Wolfe anointed them “Masters of the Universe.”

If you need academic proof, take a look at John Coates’ research on men and testosterone on the trading floor.

Second, most women negotiators in tough discussions tend to work toward win-win solutions for all concerned. Sure, men say they want this too, but how many of them actually embrace that outcome?

She argues that it’s all really very simple: if your household budget is out of balance, the rational person would seek to increase income while decreasing expenses.

For a country that put a man on the moon and ran a taxi service to the International Space Station, this is not rocket science! Maybe the problem is men…

  1. The rational person might seek to increase income and reduce expenditure but what if you have two elected parties, one which promised not to increase taxes and the other which promised not to reduce services… you hit a messy gridlock serving the people you were elected by.

    In a two party system a deadlock like this seems pretty much unavoidable – the right wing party wants small taxes, small government, and minimal services, the left wing wants big government, big taxes, and big services. Both methods are viable however they eventually collide. In this though the case is worse because one side didn’t have much to lose while the other did, at that point in a negotiation you don’t generally go for win-win you go for big win – little win.

    Also testosterone has varying effects on people… so saying men are testosterone driven monsters doesn’t really help especially when these kinds of jobs attract a certain kind of person… who is typically quite aggressive.

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