The highest cost on our societies is that of distrust. Distrust is economic to a point, namely to where it leads to war. War can be economic, but also to a point, namely where the fighting parties become unbalanced, where people get serious about winning. But back to distrust. If we trusted our neigbour with all our tools we could share them, and we would not buy them each individually. This goes for many things we could share. However there is a clear reason for distrust in some cases, namely where it concerns things we have been doing egoistically before we had societies with all its complex dependencies. Clearly there are places in our lives where trust could be increased to drive down cost, and places where we will never trust everyone or even our closest friends to have influence.
Because a large part of our economy depends on distrust we are exposed to reasons to distrust on a daily basis. Crime is everywhere, fraud is everywhere, relationships are not reliable, the economy is a sickly child. All this leads people to buy more stuff and be anxious inbetween. You want to build a fence around your house, a gate at the end of your street. Of course the politics of the right is all about creating demons and foes and a societal risk that creates reasons to justify investment in more gates, prisons etc. Also because these investments create a rightless underclass that can certainly perform usefull services.
Trust systems are systems that increase trust. They are not systems of reckless trust. We see an explosion in those systems due to right wing politics, which is about keeping the fossil fuel valorisation cycle going (between banks and fossil fuel companies). The idea is that anything that diverts us from fossil fuel dependence is terrorism. Primarily countries that want to sell their oil on their own terms are terrorist nations, if not then maybe some people in those countries get together and form an Al Quaida cell to try to achieve the same, and are branded terrorists.
At home people that do not want to participate in the carboncredit economy, organic farmers, communities etc. are targeted by goverments that are populated by politicians that know their carreer will be set when they serve the interests of fossil fuel. The model we are tranding towards was described by Max Keiser as the casino gulag society, which means you either consume but have to gamble at every step, or you produce, and work in a dead end job in a captive environment. Your life is no more than tool to serve the lives of more fortunate and less empathic people. This all gets real creepy real fast, no surprise if you create two classes of people. It is a simple rule that people only love their own tribe, and don’t really care about the lives of individuals outside it, that’s the way it has been for as long as humans exist. Humaism, human rights is not an identity promoted by the right, so they are not a member of that ‘universal tribe’ that could make everyone on earth love each other enough to not want to exploit or destroy their existence.
Like with all systems we see today trust systems are top down while they should be created bottom up. The should help hand over trust to people without the aid of computers, not work to make people dependent on computers. Once you trust computers you have become an extention of them, and you will follow orders from whoever controls the computer, or even worse, from nobody but the person making the rules. If those rules are made by an oxigen deprived right wing fossil fuel lakey the world will eventually look like a nightmare.
The alternative is not to join hands and circle the world singing kumbaya, it is not living in a communist community (or intentional) although those things don’t do any harm in itself. The communist philosophy led to a totalitarian state, very similar to the casino/gulag model mentioned above. The similarity that is the cause in both cases is lack of ownership. In the communist model the state owns everything, in our present economy the banks own everything. Even if they own 80% or 60%, that gives them leverage to influence any transaction that occurs if they have to. Of course their intent is to have power but make people think they do not, the best defence is preventing/not evoking an attack.
From the above one can deduce that we think ownership is the road to bottom up trust. It makes sense, because who do you trust primarily? Yourself. Secondarily the people you interact with, the things you use to do stuff. Of course also the law, the police? But trust in the ability of others grows as you observe them handling themselves well. Real trust is only local, and it trust has to exist on a wider scale the impression of being neat is one of the first requirements, neat, boring, well behaved. Like a banker.
Instead of building trust systems in the digital realm, in voice and visual recognition, tracking and attempts to predict behaviour we should reintroduce it to the physical realm, the personal space of people. This requires them to be owners, to be productive in a sense that others depend on it. This is against the trend of centralizing production, which makes economic sense (it increases the fossil fuel burden of bread production chain). Of course as we make this move we also introduce renewable energy so we can have our local ownership and production independently of centralized distribution of energy.
The top down trust systems could be watching a small team that plans to blow u a bus, or a similar team intending to sink a container ship in the Strait of Hormuz. There’s a difference. One affects consumer confidence, tourism and a few hundred lives (depending also on the coverage). The other can throttle the world economy on a massive scale. The latter is the reason for the gigantic investment in trust systems. Keeping American (banker)s Safe. Homeland security and the NSA/PRISM are both a profitable enterprise and the guardians of the top down carbon credit system. It keeps making sense only if you assume that the driver is to continuously sell fossil fuels. Suppose the US powered itself (as it could) from solar power plants on unused federal land then who cares what happens in the Middle East, blow it up if you want!
Today governments are realizing more and more how these top down trust systems themselves become tools to achieve financial gain. Tools for industrial espionage. This is not fiction but fact, as a study of the University of Bath showed most multinationals employ semi legal intelligence services from the likes of Blackwater/Xe/Academia. This includes Shell, Exxon, Starbucks etc. The NSA is rumoured to sell info to the highest bidder. The attack on private encryption services is a fact. Nobody should be able to communicate in private except the US and its industry? It’s no surprise if you realise that most governors are very rich and can legally speculate on Wallstreet with insider information. Its not a government, but an legal buffet.
That is another reason to localize trust by localizing ownership. It makes the fuckups less dangerous. As scientist advised the russians to weld the ICBM silos shut to introduce a delay of about 10 minutes in their lauch sequence, to cover immense risk of false alarms and accidental lauches, so the localization of trust is a failsafe against people unable to be humbled by their power. The Cheneys of this world may be succesfull using the principe ‘You ain’t got power unless you use it’, they don’t belong in their positions. There should not have been an atom bomb, or a military industrial complex. The fear of centralized power is old, even Bismark worked for a long time to prevent the armies of the german states to unite, fearing war would be the inevitable result (what is such an army going to do but feel superior and start a war?).
If you don’t want people to do something, take away the instruments, the opportunity. If you want them to change change reality. If you want to trust them ask yourself ‘with what?’. A gun? Don’t make guns. A bomb? Don’t give them the chance to contemplate it. Relax them, give them ownership of their environment, create abundance using renewable energy, remove the fossil fuel drive from their economies. Top Down Trust Systems are not a solution to a problem, instead they are a safeguard the problems persist, because they secure an economic system that creates the problems. The price of acting on that insight is loss of (carbon credit) economic opportunity, and that is why we need renewable energy to dominate to get rid of it.