Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trust me...

I'm American.

May be not so much.

The results are based on survey responses to the question, “Generally speaking would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people?” Within the United States, just less than half of people expressed a high level of trust in others. [More]

It would be easy to dismiss the decline in trust as a sociological curiosity, but even the most ardent market system depends on trust for efficiency. Lacking same, layers of paperwork, litigation, regulation and oversight load deadweight on any transaction.

[I know I point out the example of Denmark often, but they seem to be doing some things right as a country and culture.]

If you read all the above post, you will also note the correlation (but not necessarily casual relationship) with trust and economic inequality.

It will be hard to lift these numbers, I suspect, without a) trusting preemptively, despite the risks and 2) being trustworthy (no order implied). While this sounds pretty Sunday-Schoolish, few go to Sunday School anymore, so perhaps we need to say it aloud more often.


Jake in OH said...

I am not sure if I trust those numbers that show up on the chart.

John Phipps said...


You've been waiting all year for that one, haven't you?