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"Letter"? Unknown meaning? Options
Turnpike
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 3:45:25 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 2/16/2018
Posts: 86
Neurons: 3,848
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Hi,
What does "letter" mean in the following context?

"Some negotiations are indeed pure price deals and only about
aggregate economics, but there is often much more to work with.
Wise negotiators put the vital issue of price in perspective and
don’t straitjacket their view of the richer interests at stake. They
work with the subjective as well as the objective, with the process
and the relationship, with the “social contract” or spirit of a deal
as well as its letter, and with the interests
of the parts as well as the whole."
thar
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 4:17:38 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,773
Neurons: 92,492
There are two things contrasted
-the spirit of the deal
The letter of the deal


The spirit is the feeling, the idea of what you want to achieve.

The letter is what is written down in the contract, or in a law - the precise words. These can be argued over by lawyers.

Sometimes there are ways for lawyers to say 'the contract doesn't say we can't do this' even though they are going against what the contract is intended to achieve.

For instance, a company is taken over, but the deal is they cannot make any staff redundant.
The new management come in and transfer all the staff jobs to some remote location, or finds some other way to make their jobs so impossible that they all resign.
They haven't broken the letter of the deal - they have not sacked the staff.
But they have broken the spirit of the deal - they have managed to get rid of the staff, despite signing a deal promising to protect their jobs.


Quote:
the spirit of the law
noun phrase

Definition of the spirit of the law
: the aim or purpose of a law when it was written
They seem to be more concerned with obeying the letter of the law than with understanding the spirit of the law.


Quote:
the letter of the law
noun phrase

Definition of the letter of the law
: exactly what the law says
Turnpike
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 1:42:41 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 2/16/2018
Posts: 86
Neurons: 3,848
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Thank you, Thar!
thermoer
Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2019 12:27:14 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 8/9/2019
Posts: 8
Neurons: 28
It's hard to understand.
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