Author Topic: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society  (Read 2155 times)

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Offline cdev

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The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« on: June 19, 2017, 03:11:59 pm »
This started out as a post in the thread on thermal imaging frame rates that I could see was way too far off topic.

I had this thought contemplating a society where various players were engaged in gangsterism and extortion of anybody who had managed o get it ogether, thats what I think would happen if trust breaks down.

------end of meta comment----

Suppose we had an out of control organized crime problem in developed countries like exists in so many developing countries. (as could easily happen if the ladders to success are pulled up as many governments are contemplating doing)

That's when it becomes frustrating to the point of being pointless to attempt to engage in any kind of forward thinking new business. Trust (and freedom from political caste systems, which attempt to reward the loyal by penalizing those perceived to be risky, typically the intelligent) are the things that lets win-win positive business function.

I wish I had a dollar for all the discussions Ive had about this, countless many, with people who had grown up under various forms of totalitarianism or gangsterism.  Its perhaps the norm on Earth in terms of the population that struggles under it, and functional societies are the exception.It seems that among developed countries, the less hierarchical a society is, the more likely it is to be successful in improving the lives of all its people, both rich and poor.

(Closed and closing societies are trying to minimize expenditures by focusing on the few and abandoning the many)

And societies that are becoming more hierarchical, where opportunity is diminishing, are turning inward and face very severe economic problems if they continue to pull up the ladders to success. Because their prosperity only exists due to trust and the costs of losing it will be astronomical, but the benefits brought by trust are intangible and hard to quantify until their losing makes it clear what they were, and then its too late.

Innumerable studies have shown that large differences in wealth create a great many problems, which seem to be clustered more among the rich than poor. It seems quite well established now, in fact that extreme wealth creates a substantial amount of dishonest behavior in some - not all, but a substantial number, develop ingrained, habitually antisocial behavior that is detrimental to all.

Dishonesty is self perpetuating.

Crime of various kinds, at all levels has by then become the dominant aspect of society. People are under attack by thieves..

Electronics is one of the biggest gifts we've been given by technology.  Its worth protecting by all sectors of society.

In at least one extremely closed society I know of (North Korea) they don't seem to have an electronics hobbyist community like we do in the rest of the world. Except in the most privileged segment of society and there its extremely limited.

Because electronics is seen as a threat by the elite there.  We don't want to see that happen here.

We have to keep our societies open and we have to be aware of how we could lose what we have easily and that would come at a tremendous cost to our futures.

Trust once lost is very hard to regain. So we should live with the limits we have and  do our best to prevent that from happening. Also, we need to prevent extreme social stratification.

Keep education available to everybody and dont do things that undermine the paths to employment for people by creating artificial handicaps for some to get cheap labor.

Competition is only good when its natural.

Otherwise we'll all lose our trust - the glue that keeps society working, and be scrambling trying to find some place in the world where that trust still exists and it will become harder and harder.

Does this make sense.. We all have to consider the long term effects of everything we do be "mindful".

meaning intelligent.

Also, we should keep talking. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 03:33:12 pm by cdev »
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 03:31:21 pm »
It's called Libertarianism. And yes, it's the only way that actually works.
Incidentally, have you read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand? You should.
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Offline Ampera

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 03:36:52 pm »
This is a natural American view, but the situation is a bit different in other countries.

The US has a fairly high crime rate, and one of the largest motor vehicle and gun homicide rates in the world. We have a lot of religious people, and a lot of very judgmental people. Europe has a different culture, and in some parts of Asia, it's even more different.

Take Germany for example. Crime in general is incredibly low, and most people have a good idea on how to drive. Rules are followed in Germany. Most of the countries with the highest HDI rating are all in Europe, with Norway being at the top. Food is better in Europe too as more laws regulate what can or can not be put into foods, and people are in general less willing to eat crap.

In countries like Japan, there is a large culture of just being a good and upstanding individual. Crime is VERY small in Japan, and gun homicides basically don't happen outside of rare occurrences.

The US has a pretty rough time with all of this. A lot of people don't care, are too stupid to care, or care only for themselves. Our gun laws allow anybody to walk into a Walmart, apply for a gun, and then to return a week later with no reason for needing one, to just pick one up. I don't think guns should be illegal, but that's just stupid. We also give very minimal training to our drivers. Especially in places like Boston, American drivers can't drive for the most part. No matter where you go, there will always be morons on the roads.

Even the quality of our food has been rated as fairly low in the world, with every shop selling more junk than actual food.

So before you start judging the worlds based on the American perspective, understand that everywhere isn't like the US. We may be a global superpower, but we aren't the world. and the world isn't us.
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Offline brabus

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 03:48:53 pm »
(...)
So before you start judging the worlds based on the American perspective, understand that everywhere isn't like the US. We may be a global superpower, but we aren't the world. and the world isn't us.

This is one of the most honest comments ever. Thank you for your vivid description.

The acknowledgment of our limits is the first step to improve our society. Speaking of Italy, motherland of mine, there is a lot to be done.
Social skills are reduced to a minimum, everyone is frustrated about money and success, blaming others for any problem that seem to affect our small country in that moment.

I now live in Austria, where the situation is very similar to what you wrote about Japan.

I think that the point is the way the common man in these two countries thinks: "in Italy the country belongs to everyone, therefore it is not mine; in Austria the country belongs to everyone, therefore it is also mine". This small distinction makes major difference in how people treat their own soil, resources and community.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 03:53:08 pm by brabus »
 

Offline cdev

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 04:13:23 pm »
Thank you all for your comments. Two of Five, you are totally right.

 Its emphatically not all about us.
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Offline rustybronco

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 08:17:05 pm »
Quote
Does this make sense.. We all have to consider the long term effects of everything we do be "mindful".
In this country it does not make sense. The political system is stacked against us lower minions. Just take a look at the heath care situation in this country, it's all about tearing down for political reasons rather than correcting and making things better for the common good. Until that point is reached, everything I do is centered around my families needs. ALMOST everything else is secondary.

I have more to say on the matter but not the time.

Quote
Otherwise we'll all lose our trust - the glue that keeps society working,
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 08:24:06 pm by rustybronco »
 

Offline JoeN

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 10:16:59 pm »
Our gun laws allow anybody to walk into a Walmart, apply for a gun, and then to return a week later with no reason for needing one, to just pick one up. I don't think guns should be illegal, but that's just stupid.

What liberal ass state is that?  A one week waiting period is a week longer than most states require.   :-DD  (if anyone cares, apparently 10 states out of 51 (DC included) have some sort of waiting period and 41 do not - http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/gun-dealer-sales/waiting-periods/, there is a mandatory federal background check which is more or less instantaneous)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 10:21:28 pm by JoeN »
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Offline Ampera

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 11:12:03 pm »
Oh. Here in New York I thought that was the law.

Even still that doesn't make anything better.
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Offline timb

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The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 11:22:04 pm »
Our gun laws allow anybody to walk into a Walmart, apply for a gun, and then to return a week later with no reason for needing one, to just pick one up. I don't think guns should be illegal, but that's just stupid.

What liberal ass state is that?  A one week waiting period is a week longer than most states require.   :-DD  (if anyone cares, apparently 10 states out of 51 (DC included) have some sort of waiting period and 41 do not - http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/gun-dealer-sales/waiting-periods/, there is a mandatory federal background check which is more or less instantaneous)

It's also different depending on if you're buying a long gun (rifle), shotgun or pistol. Some states have only a background check and no waiting period on rifles and shotguns; whereas a pistol requires a one week long "cool down period" plus the background check. A lot of states also have a limit on the amount of pistols you can buy in a given period.

In my state, you're exempt from the limit and cool down period if you have CCW permit; it also greatly speeds up the background checks.

Buying "restricted weapons" (explosives, automatic weapons, suppressors) is a different story, but isn't actually as hard as one would imagine. Officially you need your local head LEO (Sheriff or Chief of Police) to sign off on the ATF application when you try to purchase an item like this, however there's a loophole that can be exploited to get around that:  If it's a corporation or trust buying the restricted item then they don't need local law enforcement to sign off on it; you can simply setup a Living Trust for yourself and register the item to it. (Setting up a trust is just a matter of downloading the correct documents from the web, then signing and notarizing them.)

Then you simply send your application and $200 to the ATF and wait. They'll do a *very* extensive background check and a few months later, barring any problems, you get your approval and "Tax Stamp" in the mail and can pickup your restricted item from the gun shop.

(I went through the whole procedure when I got a suppressor for my H&K USP 9mm about 7 years ago. I ran into zero issues and it only took about 2 months all told.)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 11:32:00 pm by timb »
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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: The precious and fragile nature of trust in civil society
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 12:01:46 am »
Much as I'm sure I shouldn't bother joining a political topic, and much as I'm sure I'll wind up ignoring this tread later on...

Suppose we had an out of control organized crime problem in developed countries like exists in so many developing countries. (as could easily happen if the ladders to success are pulled up as many governments are contemplating doing)

That's when it becomes frustrating to the point of being pointless to attempt to engage in any kind of forward thinking new business. Trust (and freedom from political caste systems, which attempt to reward the loyal by penalizing those perceived to be risky, typically the intelligent) are the things that lets win-win positive business function.

Take a step back and consider what forces and conditions might exist to foster that sort of society.

I don't really know what "gangsterism" is supposed to mean.  Gangsters operate illegally beneath a greater system of laws, which (necessarily?) has the power to defeat them.  This forces their business model, and org system, to skirt the law as much as possible, while minimizing liabilities -- the exchange of information between key players (executives, as it were) and henchmen (employees, as it were).

Power is key in any system.  Any random person can draw up their own constitution and treaties and such, but the power of one person against the collective will of thousands, or millions, or billions (depending on where you are, and what degree of power comes from what parts of the whole), makes such statements utterly null and void.  (Read about "sovereign citizens" and "private millitias", and some of the outcomes they've had over the years.)

If a gang truly had power, it would not need to be burdened by such overhead: it would operate out in the open, and the "law" would be powerless to stop it.  This might be more in tune with South American drug cartels, which the legally recognized government is unable to defeat.

Note that power acts in many ways, too: violence is only the basest one.  In the above situation, there are many pressures: the threat of violence, the economic liability (the drug trade may end up quite lucrative for the legal government -- within its own laws, as such -- despite the underlying activity being illegal*), bribery, and more.

*Incidentally, if you're selling drugs in the U.S., you want to report your income as "private consultation" -- which is true enough besides -- rather than leaving it off (which is illegal, and you don't want the power of an IRS audit bearing down on you), or ticking that silly little "this income was illegal" box (which just gives them a perjury charge to bludgeon you with, if you filled out something else suspiciously).

No, a gang that powerful is not a gang anymore: it's probably a guerrilla revolutionary force, seeking to change the political system as a whole.

Quote
And societies that are becoming more hierarchical, where opportunity is diminishing, are turning inward and face very severe economic problems if they continue to pull up the ladders to success. Because their prosperity only exists due to trust and the costs of losing it will be astronomical, but the benefits brought by trust are intangible and hard to quantify until their losing makes it clear what they were, and then its too late.

Innumerable studies have shown that large differences in wealth create a great many problems, which seem to be clustered more among the rich than poor. It seems quite well established now, in fact that extreme wealth creates a substantial amount of dishonest behavior in some - not all, but a substantial number, develop ingrained, habitually antisocial behavior that is detrimental to all.

Dishonesty is self perpetuating.

Crime of various kinds, at all levels has by then become the dominant aspect of society. People are under attack by thieves..

Quote
Electronics is one of the biggest gifts we've been given by technology.  Its worth protecting by all sectors of society.

In at least one extremely closed society I know of (North Korea) they don't seem to have an electronics hobbyist community like we do in the rest of the world. Except in the most privileged segment of society and there its extremely limited.

Because electronics is seen as a threat by the elite there.  We don't want to see that happen here.

"A force so powerful it can only be used for good or evil!" ::)

FYI: I am 100% certain that electronics hobbyists have never been politically relevant anywhere on Earth.

That's kind of a peculiar statement to make, honestly, given that the US (and most other countries) has law on this matter, almost directly responsible to that very party: HAM radio (Part 97).

But, that is a very small segment of a truly massive political system.  None of the elite, inside that system, give a flip about what's happening on those lower levels.  That's what I mean.  Maybe the certainty is actually 99.997% or something like that.  Call it rounding error. ;D

It's easy to confuse actors of economic value, with those of political value -- they both affect change, but one goes through industry and yields real products, while the other goes through polity and yields hot air.  Radio has been instrumental in developments over the last century: both economic and strategic.  It wouldn't have gotten there without those early amateurs, and amateurs and industry continue to feed each other, to some extent, even today.  But that's driven by economic value, by industry.  That's what I mean.

Anyway:
AFAIK, in NK, electronics are used as a tool of control, as everything else is.  Those who are in the privileged class (the middle class, I guess, except they're not in the demographic middle by a huge margin) are able to use tools like the tablet computer that runs NK's OS: loaded with security features like fingerprinting user information into all edited files, and instant phone-home capability.  (There's even a section where you can look at the screenshots, that are periodically taken and transmitted, so you can verify how well you've been honoring the Great Leader yourself.)

The use of electronics is just a tool of power, not a means to power.

The situation in NK runs much deeper than that.  At the root, on the highest level: it's simply the distribution of power.

Quote
We have to keep our societies open and we have to be aware of how we could lose what we have easily and that would come at a tremendous cost to our futures.

Trust once lost is very hard to regain. So we should live with the limits we have and  do our best to prevent that from happening. Also, we need to prevent extreme social stratification.

I don't see trust as fundamental.  If you don't trust a person, you stop doing business with them.  This is better expressed in monetary terms: they're a liability, business ends up more expensive, say because they aren't delivering the goods they said they would.  Money is more fundamental.  Trust is just how we feel about it.

Money is power.  The more people who have money, and who exercise it, the more power is distributed among the people.  In such a situation, a western democracy is inevitable: the people represent themselves politically by their economic power.  Unions are a simple example of this, but political advocacy groups are also a good example (both in terms of committing ones' labor in volunteer service, or monetary by donation).

Here's a relatively short clip from the excellent CGP Grey, based on The Dictator's Handbook explaining this:



Watch the follow-up, too.


In countries like Japan, there is a large culture of just being a good and upstanding individual. Crime is VERY small in Japan, and gun homicides basically don't happen outside of rare occurrences.

Partly because of that culture, and largely because Japan, and also Australia, are island nations, they can control their imports and manufacture very closely.  Guns are difficult to get in Australia (you need a series of costly licenses, and activities, demonstrating their value to you), and all but impossible in Japan.

The legal cost of illegal gun possession in Japan is exceptionally high.  So much so, that gang members refuse to use them.  The police will investigate deeply, and remove critical pieces of the gang.  It's a big liability.  A "hit" isn't worth that much on the black market, so it's not done with guns.

Quote
The US has a pretty rough time with all of this. A lot of people don't care, are too stupid to care, or care only for themselves. Our gun laws allow anybody to walk into a Walmart, apply for a gun, and then to return a week later with no reason for needing one, to just pick one up. I don't think guns should be illegal, but that's just stupid. We also give very minimal training to our drivers. Especially in places like Boston, American drivers can't drive for the most part. No matter where you go, there will always be morons on the roads.

The thing I find funny is, and which no one talks about -- I think guns are a MacGuffin.  In large part, gun owners, in the US, are responsible.  Or, at least, not actively irresponsible.  Careless, but not ultimately harmful.

This does leave a background level of accidental and intentional use: guns falling into the hands of children, or the homicidal, resulting in accidents and shootings.  (And for the record, I agree that this level, low as it is, is inexcusable, and could be reduced significantly, just by introducing some simple steps in education, licensing and checking, that is made consistent across all states.)

But if guns are truly as dangerous as they're made out to be?  Given the number of guns in the US, and the number of people owning them?  No, the rate is orders of magnitude smaller than what you'd expect for that.  (The gun population is effectively somewhere between maybe 20,000 and 200,000 guns per 100,000 people, yet the annual deaths are about 10 per 100,000 people: a factor of over 2000, or about 3.5 sigma.

Actually, that sounds about right, kind of high sigma, but most human-driven activities are in the 2-3 range: that's a typical success rate in the service sector.  And taking annual deaths isn't going to be quite representative either, because a gun might be in someone's possession for several years; what's the half-life of a gun? :P  If we fix sigma ~ 2.5 to 3, and keep the 20,000 per 100,000 figure, that puts half life at a few years, which seems reasonable enough.

So, that's interesting.  Thanks for inspiring this, I hadn't put these numbers together in this way before. :)

I don't think this invalidates my opening statement on this subject -- we're still talking about ~99.9% of guns being nonlethal.  We just don't know which 0.1%... because of the reasons that I said I'd like to see.

Anyway anyway -- back to the subject of greater societal concerns: a holistic view is important.  Crime rate?  What's driving it?  Is it due to low economic output?  Gang activity?

Also, there are quirks about reporting: the US has a fetish with reporting infant mortality; Britain has a thing about not letting the coroner assess a cause of death, making gunshot deaths underreported by 3x or something like that.  (Those examples just come to mind; I don't have a handy example about crime per se, or know if it's being reported in quirky ways anywhere.)

In this country it does not make sense. The political system is stacked against us lower minions. Just take a look at the heath care situation in this country, it's all about tearing down for political reasons rather than correcting and making things better for the common good. Until that point is reached, everything I do is centered around my families needs. ALMOST everything else is secondary.

I have more to say on the matter but not the time.

Well there you go!  Get your money out there and let it speak for you!  Money is power.

Don't got money to spare?  Ehh...

Anyway, that's enough for today.

Tim
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