ALS Topic 9 - The End of Trust - So who is left to believe in?

Focus questions for Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar, 26 May 2018 ( )

Note: The questions below are not supposed to suggest biased answers. You really can adopt any point of view your can suggest evidence for. Do be prepared for others suggesting counter-evidence! Note: clearly not all of these questions can be properly covered in a meetup, but they give us a conscious choice about what to talk about while making the background context clearer. It is up to the people who come on the day to choose what aspects they would like to deal with.

Focus Questions:

1. 'My word is my bond' - except when it's not. Who mostly speaks the truth, and who doesn't?

2. Are there professions where it is a requirement to lie? Has this changed over time? Evidence?

3. Sociologists talk about 'high trust societies' and 'low trust societies' (Google it..). Where would you put Australia? Evidence?

4. How does child raising affect whether a child puts a high value on honesty/trust, and how does this ultimately affect communities? Evidence?

5. What part do mass media and social media play in creating or destroying a culture of public trust?

6. At what point does public 'security' (what the government spends money on) undermine private security (what you can actually do safely yourself)?

7. Do religions and ideologies create an environment that promotes public trust, or do they undermine it? Evidence?

8. The people (and institutions) you place trust in is sometimes diagramed as an expanding circle of concentric rings. Those on the innermost ring are those you trust the most, and those on the out rings are those you trust least. Draw your version of this diagram. Who is on the outer limits, who is on the inner?

9. Trusting someone can be based on a) your perception of their honesty; b) your perception of their competence; c) your perception of their goodwill; d) your perception of the cost to them of betrayal - i.e. their self-interest; e) your perception of the power or lack of power they exercise; f) your perception of their status. Think of examples where each of these factors could influence your trust. Which factors influencing trust are the most important for you? Why?

10. What is your default attitude in meeting strangers: a) trust them until they prove untrustworthy?; b) distrust them until they prove trustworthy ? Justify you approach.


Comments & Links

Davis, Nicola K S (30 Jan 2018) "Study reveals why we trust some strangers and not others". The Guardian @ 

Fleming Consulting & Co (October 11, 2016) "The End of Trust?" @

May, Thor (2014) "Fakes, liars, cheats, deceivers, animals in the forest" @ 

New York Times (22 December 2017) "In Code We Trust" @ chrome-extension://ecabifbgmdmgdllomnfinbmaellmclnh/data/reader/index.html?id=74  

Thor's own websites:

1. articles at ;

2. legacy site: .


The end of trust - so who is left to believe in? (c) Thor May 2018 return to Ddiscussion