Distrust

Russell Sage Foundation
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If trust is sometimes the rational response in interpersonal relations, then it can also be rational to distrust. Indeed, distrust is the preferred response when it protects against harm—as when parents do not entrust the safety of their child to a disreputable caretaker. Liberal political theory was largely founded on distrust of government, and the assumption that government cannot and should not be trusted led the framers of the U.S. constitution to establish a set of institutions explicitly designed to limit government power. With contributions from political science, anthropology, economics, psychology, and philosophy, Distrust examines the complex workings of trust and distrust in personal relationships, groups, and international settings. Edna Ullman-Margalit succinctly defines distrust as the negation of trust, and examines the neutral state between the two responses in interpersonal relations. As Margalit points out, people typically defer judgment—while remaining mildly wary of another's intentions—until specific grounds for trust or distrust become evident. In relations between nations, misplaced trust can lead to grievous harm, so nations may be inclined to act as though they distrust other nations more than they actually do. Editor Russell Hardin observes that the United States and the former Soviet Union secured a kind of institutionalized distrust—through the development of the nuclear deterrent system—that stabilized the relationship between the two countries for four decades. In another realm where distrust plays a prominent role, Margaret Levi, Matthew Moe, and Theresa Buckley show that since the National Labor Relations Board has not been able to overcome distrust between labor unions and employers, it strives to equalize the power held by each group in negotiations. Recapitulating liberal concerns about state power, Patrick Troy argues that citizen distrust keeps government regulation under scrutiny and is more beneficial to the public than unconditional trust. Despite the diversity of contexts examined, the contributors reach remarkably similar conclusions about the important role of trust and distrust in relations between individuals, nations, and citizens and their governments. Distrust makes a significant contribution to the growing field of trust studies and provides a useful guide for further research. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust
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About the author

RUSSELL HARDIN is professor of politics at New York University. CONTRIBUTORS: Margaret L. Brown, Theresa Buckley, Henry Farrell, Russell Hardin, Cynthia M. Horne, Roderick M. Kramer, Deborah Welch Larson, Margaret Levi, Matthew Moe, Gabriella R. Montinola, Vadim Radaev, Patrick Troy, Edna Ullmann-Margalit, and Unni Wikan
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Additional Information

Publisher
Russell Sage Foundation
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Published on
May 20, 2004
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Pages
344
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ISBN
9781610442695
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / General
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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What does it mean to "trust?" What makes us feel secure enough to place our confidence—even at times our welfare—in the hands of other people? Is it possible to "trust" an institution? What exactly do people mean when they claim to "distrust" their governments? As difficult as it may be to define, trust is essential to the formation and maintenance of a civil society. In Trust and Trustworthiness political scientist Russell Hardin addresses the standard theories of trust and articulates his own new and compelling idea: that much of what we call trust can be best described as "encapsulated interest." Research into the roles of trust in our society has offered a broad range of often conflicting theories. Some theorists maintain that trust is a social virtue that cannot be reduced to strategic self-interest; others claim that trusting another person is ultimately a rational calculation based on information about that person and his or her incentives and motivations. Hardin argues that we place our trust in persons whom we believe to have strong reasons to act in our best interests. He claims that we are correct when we assume that the main incentive of those whom we trust is to maintain a relationship with us—whether it be for reasons of economic benefit or for love and friendship. Hardin articulates his theory using examples from a broad array of personal and social relationships, paying particular attention to explanations of the development of trusting relationships. He also examines trustworthiness and seeks to understand why people may behave in ways that violate their own self-interest in order to honor commitments they have made to others. The book also draws important distinctions between vernacular uses of "trust" and "trustworthiness," contrasting, for example, the type of trust (or distrust) we place in individuals with the trust we place in institutions Trust and Trustworthiness represents the culmination of important new research into the roles of trust in our society; it offers a challenging new voice in the current discourse about the origins of cooperative behavior and its consequences for social and civic life. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust
Universal basic income. A 15-hour workweek. Open borders. Does it sound too good to be true? One of Europe's leading young thinkers shows how we can build an ideal world today.
"A more politically radical Malcolm Gladwell." --New York Times
After working all day at jobs we often dislike, we buy things we don't need. Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian, reminds us it needn't be this way-and in some places it isn't.

Rutger Bregman's TED Talk about universal basic income seemed impossibly radical when he delivered it in 2014. A quarter of a million views later, the subject of that video is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the world over. It's just one of the many utopian ideas that Bregman proves is possible today.

Utopia for Realists is one of those rare books that takes you by surprise and challenges what you think can happen. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty, to Richard Nixon's near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history, and beyond the traditional left-right divides, as he champions ideas whose time have come.

Every progressive milestone of civilization-from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy-was once considered a utopian fantasy. Bregman's book, both challenging and bracing, demonstrates that new utopian ideas, like the elimination of poverty and the creation of the fifteen-hour workweek, can become a reality in our lifetime. Being unrealistic and unreasonable can in fact make the impossible inevitable, and it is the only way to build the ideal world.

Trust plays a pervasive role in social affairs, even sustaining acts of cooperation among strangers who have no control over each other's actions. But the full importance of trust is rarely acknowledged until it begins to break down, threatening the stability of social relationships once taken for granted. Trust in Society uses the tools of experimental psychology, sociology, political science, and economics to shed light on the many functions trust performs in social and political life. The authors discuss different ways of conceptualizing trust and investigate the empirical effects of trust in a variety of social settings, from the local and personal to the national and institutional. Drawing on experimental findings, this book examines how people decide whom to trust, and how a person proves his own trustworthiness to others. Placing trust in a person can be seen as a strategic act, a moral response, or even an expression of social solidarity. People often assume that strangers are trustworthy on the basis of crude social affinities, such as a shared race, religion, or hometown. Likewise, new immigrants are often able to draw heavily upon the trust of prior arrivals—frequently kin—to obtain work and start-up capital. Trust in Society explains how trust is fostered among members of voluntary associations—such as soccer clubs, choirs, and church groups—and asks whether this trust spills over into other civic activities of wider benefit to society. The book also scrutinizes the relationship between trust and formal regulatory institutions, such as the law, that either substitute for trust when it is absent, or protect people from the worst consequences of trust when it is misplaced. Moreover, psychological research reveals how compliance with the law depends more on public trust in the motives of the police and courts than on fear of punishment. The contributors to this volume demonstrate the growing analytical sophistication of trust research and its wide-ranging explanatory power. In the interests of analytical rigor, the social sciences all too often assume that people act as atomistic individuals without regard to the interests of others. Trust in Society demonstrates how we can think rigorously and analytically about the many aspects of social life that cannot be explained in those terms. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust!--
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