Essay On Trustworthiness

Essay On Trustworthiness-22
It's absurd for me to even say it, but if we had been a planeload of chimpanzees, that would have been impossible.Trust is essential for society to function -- our civilization would collapse completely without it -- and the fact that we don't think about it is a measure of how well that trust works. It's a way of thinking about society, and it's a way of conceptualizing society's problems.

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In New York, I similarly had to trust everyone at La Guardia Airport, my New York taxi driver, and the staff at my new hotel -- where I am right now, writing this.

If I had to count, I'd guess I easily had to trust a hundred thousand people -- and that was all before this morning. There were 120 people on my plane, almost all of them strangers to each other, and at no point did anyone jump up and attack the person sitting next to them.

This means there is a fundamental tension between cooperation and what I call defection.

(Students of game theory will immediately recognize these terms.) It's a tension between us as individuals and us collectively as society.

In other words, I know their intentions and I trust their actions will be informed by those intentions.

There's also a less intimate, less personal form of trust.At Boston's Logan Airport, I had to trust everyone who worked for the airline, everyone who worked at the airport, and the thousands of other passengers.I also had to trust everyone who came in contact with the food I bought and ate before boarding my plane.When I got into the taxicab this morning, I didn't know the driver's intentions.For all I knew, he could have been a bank robber by night. Maybe it's more "confidence" than trust, and maybe the driver's actions are more like "compliance" than trustworthiness, but it's the type of trust that makes society function.Anybody who has ever been a student is familiar with all the stress factors that the academe life is bound with.One of the major stress factors is being bombarded with writing assignments by professors.It's not a book about why trust is important; lots of people write about that.It's a book about how we induce trust: about how security enables trust.Examples include tapeworms in your digestive tract, thieves in a market, spammers on e-mail, and people who refuse to pay their taxes.These parasites can only survive if they're not too successful.


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