On Trust: Playing Iterative Prisoners’ Dilemma, Belief Raising Insurance Rates, and Competence

E. Forrest Christian Theory Leave a Comment

I’ve been thinking about trust, that most elusive quality in our world and yet that which must underlie all our social worlds. I’ve also been reading some odd things this summer and thought that this would be a good time to put them down, in absolutely no particular order.

  • Cooperation (a trustfilled action) trumps individual effort in every way.
  • We are being taught to mistrust from both the Right and the Left. Conservatives seem to be better at fear-mongering to raise money than liberals are currently. But both now make it a point because raising dis-trust of the other side in your base raises their willingness to back you sacrificially.
  • Trust works better when there are people in an out-group, a set of deviants you can point to.

  • Effective business relationships are built on trust. Which is why you can’t just take over someone’s place.
  • What people think is trustworthy is situational.
  • What people think is trustworthy depends on their social and economic status. And their various subgroups. Signals of trustworthiness are socially created. They therefore can be exploited by the less scrupulous. See the note on the Right and Left teaching us not to trust.
  • Money does not build trust.
  • If you want to keep trust, you have to continue building it.
  • I encourage trust in a certain subset of people, without having a long-term relationship convincing them of it.
  • Trust can be destroyed fairly quickly but it takes a long time to build.
  • Except when you gain from “instant trust”.
  • Once you have trust in something, you want to continue trusting it. You therefore disregard all disconfirming evidence of that person or organization’s trustworthiness. You tend to continue to believe what you want to believe. Which is why Pres. Clinton’s lying didn’t bother so many liberals and why so many conservatives celebrated Lt. Calley.
  • A continuously requisitely organized company builds trust.
  • Trust that others will obey the rules actually reduces insurance rates, moreso than accident rates because if we don’t trust that others will have insurance, our rates will go up which in turn creates more uninsured drivers.
  • If we do not trust that we are loved regardless of our performance, we will not take risks necessary to succeed.
  • If we do not succeed we do not trust our competence.
  • If we do not trust our confidence, we will stop trying.
  • Companies rely on trust in order to get things accomplished. Trust is tricky because companies are so poorly organized.
  • The most successful game strategy in The Prisoners’ Dilemma is “tit for tat”. That is, trusting that the other party will behave until they don’t, and then repaying them
About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps managers and experts find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants. Forrest lives and works plain view of North Carolina's Mount Baker.  [contact]

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