Tim, I agree with you about the importance of mutual value but I have to mention that many companies make a great deal of money by deliberately screwing people.
True story: a Fortune 200 company wanted to hire one of my clients as a subcontractor/supplier. The contract they submitted was one-sided beyond terrible. They were not willing to make any material changes.
My client refused their offer. He later got to know one of the middle-managers in this company. The guy told him that Company X knew what a screw job their contract was. In fact he bragged that Company X had put something like 20 small businesses who had signed similar supplier contracts into bankruptcy in the previous year specifically because of the harsh terms in the contract.
The conversation was along the lines of “These guys are suckers. They think they’re going to get rich working for us and we’re just going to take everything they’ve got and then move on to the next sucker.”
Company X is still in business. Still making a lot of money. I suspect they are still screwing everyone they can.
So, my point is that not being mutual can and does make some companies/executives a lot of money. And if the company does, eventually, go under, the executives leave with their millions and go on to the next one.
Cost/benefit analysis includes two terms beyond cost and benefit: Who pays the cost and who gets the benefit AND the time frame over which the numbers are calculate.
Possible long-term losses to a company are unimportant if the conduct means even large short-term benefits to the executives.
— David Grace