by Francis Fukuyama, Free Press, 8/1/1995, 0029109760
The basic premise is that trust is valuable, because high-trust societies function more efficiently. While there is often trust in families, trust doesn't develop spontaneously. It's about cultural history. America is traditionally a high-trust society, because although there's a lot of talk about individualism, we spend a lot of time volunteering and helping each other. Japan is another high-trust society. The book ends on an odd note, I thought, because it leaves open the question of whether we can restore trust in the U.S. I'm not sure myself, but at least I understand a bit more about why trust is so important to effective societies.
I had quite a few excerpts marked, but these are my two favorites:
Via Rob 2005
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