Eroding Trust

Eroding Trust. By the Z Man.

A feature of this age that has slowly evolved to be the centerpiece of our society is the fact that nothing is on the level.

The central issue with the last election, for example, is the degree of shenanigans. Few people care about the platforms or people, outside of a few absurd examples. What matters to everyone are the many questions about the integrity of the process.

Ours is an age where nothing is on the level and everyone is assumed to be up to something underhanded. …

Take pets as an example. Put the phrase “pet scam” into a search engine and you will find pages of various hustles in the pet business. … There is a whole industry around robbing people who simply want to bring a little joy into their home. Think about the sort of person who comes up with a way to rob people looking for a puppy for their kid. More important, think about the society that tolerates this.

Of course, puppy scams are just a version of the much larger scams that dominate the modern American economy. The news brings word that another cryptocurrency exchange is collapsing. Like all the others, this one was not a genuine business, but an elaborate way to rob investors. No one thinks much about these things because they have become so common. Finance is just a lightly regulated casino where insiders find new ways to take advantage of the marks.

It is tempting say that the stock market has always been a casino, but keep in mind that everyone’s retirement and lifestyle now depends on equities. The con men and hustlers who define the global economy are now relied upon to keep the system running so you can live a decent life. We have literally based the welfare of our societies on the good decisions of people who are incapable of telling the truth. The heart of our system is an economy based on deception. …

That is the thing about this age that is different from the past. Scammers have always been with us, but these days we just accept it. Within living memory, we expected the government to make their best efforts to go after fraudsters. We used to have higher expectations of our politicians than we now have for our doctor. …

In a middleman society, where no one cares to judge anyone, the result is a Hobbesian competition of all against all. Ripping off moms with fraudulent puppy ads on Facebook comes with no reputational penalty. Worst case, you pay a fine and start the scam all over again.

Ten thousand years of evolution are not overcome in a few generations, so this current crisis is most likely the conflict between the system and our nature. The reason half of our young people have mental health problems is that they have been born into unnatural societies. This is not normal.

Women are taking antidepressants because they did not evolve to live in a no-trust society. Male suicide rates are at record highs for the same reason. Our society is hostile to our existence.

Our media lies to us constantly, mostly by omission. Many of our politicians look us in the eye and tell whoppers, gaslighting us. Our mechanisms for punishing the liars are just not working well enough!