Trust: The Hidden Force That Drives Humanity

  • November 29, 2017
  • 4-Minute Read

Every human being needs resources to survive, in order for us to get these resources we need to move them around—produce, transform and trade them. This is what our economy is.

It is easy to see our economy like some big machine and forget that the economy is a thing that humans take part of, in other words: no humans, no economy. We buy and we sell, everything moves around this behavior. So, would you buy a product from someone you don't trust? Would you sell to someone you don't trust to have the funds? Only if you are in control.

“If people like you, they'll listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you.” — Zig Ziglar

Trust has many forms, like trusting the competency of employees or trusting that the client will pay on time. Would you invest your money in a business you don't trust? Would you start a business if you don't trust the job market? Trust is everywhere there are humans.

If an economic region is trustworthy, money will have more power. For example, we charge the amount we trust the market will require to pay for the input while keeping a reward for our work. You might argue that you know what the market requires, but you have to trust that the market will continue to do so in order for your business to prosper.

You can't escape trust. Only if you were an omnipotent being. Which, odds are, you are not.

The Other Side of The Coin

The lack of trust can be very detrimental to economies. If people don't trust one another they will not do business, they might sell their work for a shocking amount of upfront cash but will not go further than that. Companies degenerate and systems get inefficient—over-surveillance, safety checks and redundancies increase the cost of things.

Life gets very hard where there is no trust. Survivable, but not ideal. Technological progress slows down, scientists are not heard and bigots lead the people. Total paranoia is the actual religion in a mistrusting society, faith is about trust, isn't it?

You can see the effects of the lack of trust on countries around the world.

Doesn't matter the type of government, democracies without trust are just as bad as dictatorships.

Trust can be a cultural phenomenon as well. It is common for people in some countries to distrust politicians just for the sake of distrusting them, but then why the heck elect them if you are not going to trust them? Only the people who have no qualms about being distrusted end up in government positions.

For trust to be created there must be effort, and the place a government can begin to create trust is in education. Education is primordial for a democracy—badly educated people make terrible decisions. Education must be based on a relationship of trust between teachers and students.

Democracies need good teachers. It is common for students to believe that teachers are only teachers because they failed at their field—unless you are a rockstar professor at Harvard. In some countries that is actually the truth, only professionals who didn't get good jobs end up teaching in public schools.

Shouldn't it be logical for the best of us to teach our kids?

The Culture of Mistrust

News organizations around the world profit from mistrust and fear, and they have huge cultural impact. Every day people are bombarded by bad things in the news, which make them afraid from one another. Danger exists, but humans should be logical about it, not paranoid, which most of us secretly are today.

It is actually complicated when it comes to the news but we need to regulate them. They reward bad people with the attention that our scientists and leaders so badly need.

Life has many facets, but when people are forced to see only the facet of fear and mistrust, some very bad things happen. Terrorism for one is not the result of scientific reasoning and love, it is the result of religious dogma perhaps, but not of faith and respect. The purpose of faith is to seed trust and love into our hearts not mistrust and hatred.

We are humans, the choice of trust is ours, and we should use it wisely. The one who trusts no one is a fool, and the one who trusts everybody is a fool too. The answer is somewhere in between. Most importantly, it is our job to be trustworthy ourselves.