John Robb, who blogs at Global Guerrillas, has a second blog at which he's been posting short snippets from a planned book on 'the future of the American Dream'. It's been pretty interesting following the development of his thoughts there.
In a recent article at that blog he examined what it means to trust someone, and how the concept has changed in recent times. Here's an excerpt.
It’s been clear for a long time that the rules, regulations, and laws the nation state used to run the economic system aren’t working anymore. They simply don’t provide the trust they used to provide in a connected world.
For example: how many times a day do people approach you with the intent of fleecing you for everything you own (or worse)?
When you combine e-mail, robocalls, and malware that number is in the dozens (and don’t even look at the number of times your home router is probed by hackers daily). It seems like there’s an entire army of people working everyday to take you to the cleaners (and there actually is).
Jet back twenty years and that number is pretty darn low. Frankly, before globalization and the Internet it wasn’t much of a worry unless you lived in a big city.
However, that reality hasn’t caught up with many people, particularly those of us that grew up before globalization. We’re still hardwired to trust more than we should given the reality of the world. In comparison, the generation of Millennials that are graduating for college and high school have learned differently. They don’t trust the government’s rules and regulations to provide a bubble of artificial trust anymore.
There's more at the link, including a discussion of the renewed importance of one's reputation - this time online.
Mr. Robb definitely has something here. We can see the 'discontinuity of trust' in operation in many aspects of the world around us. (Think, for example, of the Bundy Ranch standoff last month.) I hadn't specifically narrowed that down to a 'trust' issue, but when you think about it, much of the reaction to the situation there has been between those who do trust the government, and those who don't. In how many other areas of our lives today is the same dynamic in operation?
I'll have to give some more thought to the subject. There are wheels within wheels on this one . . .