Capitalism and society run on trust. When that breaks down, so do markets and civility. In the extreme we describe such events using words such as collapse, depression, barbarism and the like. Trust is the shield that keeps us from needing these words.
Is trust increasing or decreasing in our society? To anyone with his eyes open, the answer should be obvious. James Quinn, in a must read piece, investigates the trust issue and provides his opinion (my emboldening added):
Who do you trust? Do you trust the President? Do you trust Congress? Do you trust the Treasury Secretary? Do you trust the Federal Reserve? Do you trust the Supreme Court? Do you trust the Military Industrial Complex? Do you trust Wall Street bankers? Do you trust the SEC? Do you trust any government agency or regulator? Do you trust the corporate mainstream media? Do you trust Washington think tanks? Do you trust Madison Avenue PR maggots? Do you trust PACs? Do you trust lobbyists? Do you trust government unions? Do you trust the National Association of Realtors? Do you trust mega-corporation CEOs? Do you trust economists? Do you trust billionaires? Do you trust some anonymous blogger? You can’t even trust your parish priest or college football coach anymore. A civilized society cannot function without trust. The downward spiral of trust enveloping the world is destroying our global economy and will lead to collapse, chaos and bloodshed.
It is one thing not to trust your neighbor. You can avoid contact with him. But what happens when you cannot trust your government, its leaders and most other institutions of society? You can try and withdraw and live like a hermit.
Or, you can let the distrust fester and build until something or someone ignites the building rage. Whether you are the catalyst or not does not matter. If society goes up in flames, you will be part of it.