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Dictatorial Agreements

1 - Contractual Agreements

An agreement is a state of mind that is only knowable to the subject who agrees or disagrees. The subject may choose to communicate his agreement or disagreement to others, and he may do so truthfully, or falsely.

Two parties can make contractual agreements, which usually involves each party communicating their agreement with something to each other. Contractual agreements usually, but not always, may involve agreeing to promises. After a contractual agreement has been made, one or both parties may then perform some actions based on their belief that the other party has agreed to something. The party who performs actions based on the contract may suffer if the other party lied about his agreement, or later changed his mind about the agreement. Due to this possibility of suffering, contractual agreements are usually taken very seriously by society.

2 - Faults

When 'party A' makes a contractual agreement with 'party B', but lied about his agreement, and 'party B' suffers due to it, then 'party A' contributed to the suffering of 'party B'. We may put the blame on 'party A' for his lie.

When 'party A' makes a contractual agreement with 'party B', but later changes his mind about the agreement, breaking a promise, and 'party B' suffers due to it, then 'party A' contributed to the suffering of 'party B'. We may put the blame on 'party A' for breaking his promise.

When 'party A' doesn't make a contractual agreement with 'party B', but 'party B' acts as though a contractual agreement has been made, and suffers due to 'party A' not actually being in agreement, then 'party B' was a fool. We may not put any blame on 'party A' for not acting in agreement with what 'party B' believed.

3 - Dictatorial Agreements

A dictatorial agreement is when 'party B' dictates to 'party A', what 'party A' agrees to, even though 'party A' never communicated an agreement, or might even disagree. In this case, we will call 'party B' the 'dictating party', and 'party A' the 'dictated party'.

If the dictating party acts as though a contractual agreement has been made with a dictated party, and suffers due to the dictated party not being in agreement, then the dictating party was a fool. We may not put any blame on the dictated party for not acting in agreement with what the dictating party believed.

Regardless of how foolish dictatorial agreements are, they happen quite often. These dictatorial agreements are often made by wealthy and powerful groups. Furthermore, the legal system of most countries may enforce a dictatorial agreement, and punish a dictated party for not doing as they are told by the dictatorial agreement. The probability of enforcement of a dictatorial agreement is usually proportional to the wealth and power of the dictating party.

4 - EULA

An end-user license agreement, or EULA, is something that most computer users are familiar with. They are most often implemented as dictatorial agreements. When you buy boxed software in a retail store, you may find a dictatorial agreement inside the box, usually on a wrapper enclosing a CD or DVD. While running the installation program for the software, you may also find a dictatorial agreement shown on the screen.

I have already explained that any dictatorial agreement is foolish. There is no need to explain why these EULA's are foolish as well. However, I wish to talk about how I react, and what I actually agree to when I encounter such EULA's.

When I buy boxed software at a retail store, the store never mentions to me that I am only borrowing the software, or that I may not use it unless I will also agree to something inside the box that I cannot see at the time of purchase. The clear implication is that when I hand over the money for the box, and the store hands me the box, that I am now the owner of the box and all its contents.

After I bring the box home and open it, I find out that the CD is enclosed in a wrapper that has a dictatorial agreement on it. It says: "By opening this CD wrapper, you agree to X.". I say to myself: "I disagree! I disagree to X, and I also disagree to the idea that opening the CD wrapper implies that I agree to X". Clearly, I disagreed, and if the company who made the software actually listened to me, they would know so too. I then proceed to opening the CD wrapper, which I have a right to do because I am the owner of the wrapper and all the contents of the box.

I run the installation program on the computer, and I encounter another dictatorial agreement that says: "By clicking on this button, you agree to X." Just as before, I disagree to X, and I also disagree to the idea that clicking on a button is a communication of my agreement to something. I wish to run the software, which I have a right to, because I purchased the software, and it seems that the software will not run unless I click on that silly button. I click on the button, not because I agree to something, but only because I wish to run the software that I own.

5 - End Notes

Another popular form of dictatorial agreements are sent to people by credit card companies. They usually have a dictatorial agreement that says something like: "By using this card, you agree to X". A person may completely disagree with that statement, as well as disagree with X. Sometimes the companies even change the original dictatorial agreement with future dictatorial agreements that say something like: "This is an update to our agreement, now you also agree to Y". This is quite silly. If a credit card company wants a contractual agreement with somebody, they should send a contract, and ask the client if they agree to X. The client may then write down that they agree to X, and send this communication of agreement to the credit card company. However, credit card companies know the power they have, and if they can get away with dictatorial agreements, which are much more advantageous to them, that's what they'll do.

I have seen occasions in which EULA's have been enforced by courts of law, as well as occasions in which the courts did not enforce the EULA. However, I have never seen an example of a court that did not enforce a dictatorial agreement made by a credit card company. This is in accordance with a remark I made above about the probability of enforcement being proportional to the weath and power of the dictating party.

Dictatorial Agreements, by The Humanoid