How the internet is helping us to trust strangers




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After the global bank crisis in 2008, we stopped trusting banks and our mortgage brokers. Trust levels were on an all-time low. The choice for Trump over Hillary was not as much about the best leader, but about the most trustworthy one. Britain choosing to exit the European Union just to get back to their own safe and trusted rules on their island is just another example of how trust in governments and governmental bodies like the EU has shrunk.

As people are less related to a single group and more independent individuals the trust issue with corporate bank ans governments seems a bigger problem then ever. A problem because trust is a fundamental attribute of a functioning society. Paradoxically we are getting some of the trust back through the same way we learned not to trust everybody: The internet.

The internet is connecting people with information that only a decade ago was pretty much unavailable. Looking at platforms like Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and Blablacar it becomes apparent that trust is maybe even more present today then it was some 20 years ago. The internet has given everybody the option to be a critique. Being anonymous stands at the core of this growing population of criticizers. What the before mentioned platforms are doing however is the opposite. Everything is rated by your peers. Where you a nice host? Was the apartment as expected? Did you leave the a very messy apartment? All these possible questions are going to make a difference in the reviews. Offering some sort of social control that was typically reserved for small villages. This social control enables us to trust people we did not know before and make the era of global citizens an era of renewed trust. Imagine the affect it would have if we could make this type of trust available on the biggest scale and get everybody to join. What a world it would be.

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