Two-Thirds Of Americans Can't Be Trusted

Tyler Durden's picture

Only one-third of Americans say their fellow countrymen can be trusted according to a recent AP-GfK poll, down from over half 40 years ago. Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters and who can blame them with the government appearing to bless any and all surveillance and intervention in the interests of the status quo. "I'm leery of everybody," warns one respondent, and as AP reports, this is a potential problem for economic growth as "social trust" brings good things. A society where it's easier to compromise or make a deal; where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good, appears to promote economic growth. Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption and there's no easy fix.


Via AP,

You can take our word for it. Americans don't trust each other anymore.


We're not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy - trust in the other fellow - has been quietly draining away.


These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.


Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.




Does it matter that Americans are suspicious of one another? Yes, say worried political and social scientists.


What's known as "social trust" brings good things.


A society where it's easier to compromise or make a deal. Where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good. Where trust appears to promote economic growth.


Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption.


Even the rancor and gridlock in politics might stem from the effects of an increasingly distrustful citizenry




"It's like the rules of the game," Clark said. "When trust is low, the way we react and behave with each other becomes less civil."


There's no easy fix.




Trust has declined as the gap between the nation's rich and poor gapes ever wider, Uslaner says, and more and more Americans feel shut out. They've lost their sense of a shared fate. Tellingly, trust rises with wealth.


"People who believe the world is a good place and it's going to get better and you can help make it better, they will be trusting," Uslaner said. "If you believe it's dark and driven by outside forces you can't control, you will be a mistruster."


African-Americans consistently have expressed far less faith in "most people" than the white majority does. Racism, discrimination and a high rate of poverty destroy trust.


Nearly 8 in 10 African-Americans, in the 2012 survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with principal funding from the National Science Foundation, felt that "you can't be too careful."




Can anything bring trust back?


Uslaner and Clark don't see much hope anytime soon.


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Ignatius's picture

2/3 are sick and the other 1/3 is wrong.

No easy fix, indeed.  Modern life.

tsx500's picture

BITCOIN !!   (sorry, way OT, but i just wanted to see how long it takes fonestar to reply to a bitcoin mention !) ... in 3...2...1...

Sudden Debt's picture

he doesn't trust non-bitcoin related posts...

dryam's picture

No surpirse.  Trust starts at the top.

tsx500's picture

barry couldn't even spell the word 'integrity' , let alone practice it .

boogerbently's picture

Can't trust anyone on the govt. dole. That's over 1/2 of America right there. Then throw in the "working" liberals.

F-Tipp's picture

Can we even trust that most Americans understand fractions enough to provide significant information?

SWRichmond's picture

When does the two-way range open?


LawsofPhysics's picture

Trust is lost once there are no longer real consequences for bad behavior (especially at the top).  All you need to know is that when fruad is the status quo (as it is now), possession is the law.

Same as it ever was...

Anusocracy's picture

There is no shame, violence is glorified, thievery is not considered wrong, and most people's word is just part of a continuum of lies.


Kinskian's picture

Lack of social trust is a characterisitic of multicultural, racially diverse communities.


Diversity and social trust

Harvard professor of political science Robert D. Putnam conducted a nearly decade long study how diversity affects social trust.[88] He surveyed 26,200 people in 40 American communities, finding that when the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, the more racially diverse a community is, the greater the loss of trust. People in diverse communities "don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions," writes Putnam.[89] In the presence of such ethnic diversity, Putnam maintains that

[W]e hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.[88]

Ethologist Frank Salter writes:

Relatively homogeneous societies invest more in public goods, indicating a higher level of public altruism. For example, the degree of ethnic homogeneity correlates with the government's share of gross domestic product as well as the average wealth of citizens. Case studies of the United States... find that multi-ethnic societies are less charitable and less able to cooperate to develop public infrastructure.... A recent multi-city study of municipal spending on public goods in the United States found that ethnically or racially diverse cities spend a smaller portion of their budgets and less per capita on public services than do the more homogenous cities.[90]

saveUSsavers's picture

Most Whites are DUMBASSES ! forget the rest, they will backstab you as fast as anyone on Earth, spreading their ignorance around the globe until ALL Americans will have a target on our back.

Kinskian's picture

What I posted does not argue in favor of one race over another, only that large groups of people are happier, better adjusted and more productive when they share the same racial background. 

daemon's picture

" Ethologist Frank Salter writes: .... Case studies of the United States.. ."

And what happens in other places ?

Aren't the US a little bit of an "exception" on that matter too ?

Kinskian's picture

Multi-Culturalism is an affliction of the European nations as well: burning cars in France, gang rapes in Sweden, the public beheading in London. It's tempting to call it a self-inflicted wound, but people never really have a say in these immigration matters. These conditions are imposed by the elite, whether in D.C. or Brussels. Occasionally a politician admits the truth....


"The concept of multiculturalism is actually incompatible with a democratic society. ... If one asks, where in the world are multicultural societies functioning, he quickly comes to the conclusion, that multiculturalism can only exist peacefully within strong authoritarian states. In that respect it was a mistake that we, in the early 1960s, brought in guestworkers from alien cultures."    - Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt  Hamburger Abendblatt, Nov. 26, 2004

edotabin's picture

There he goes raging against the machine all the while strengthening the European experiment with vastly different cultures. Let alone that open borders between so many countries increases the chance of introducing even more vastly different cultures. Say one thing but do another?

Gringo Viejo's picture

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." .....Ralph Waldo Emerson

Exponere Mendaces's picture

You're not sorry tsx500, you're just attention starved.

You don't see me posting "GOLD IS AN ANCIENT RELIC FOR OLD PEOPLE" in every thread, now do you?

But I guess with 2/3rds of everyone not trusting the other, the core source of your sadism is really your fear of others.

See how that went back on topic? Its so easy.

Millivanilli's picture

John Corzine HERE(stole 1.6 billion!), bitchez.  Free as a bird.


The wealthy elite, like me,  want the vox populi fighting amongst themselves.   Dine on the shit we feed you at the grocery store, fast food restaurants, teevee and radio, it is meant to make you sick and unhappy.




Lin S's picture

You did this Corzine thing once before and it STILL CRACKS ME UP!!!


rubiconsolutions's picture

I don't trust polls that tell me I can't be trusted.

boogerbently's picture

I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.

Groucho Marx

Freddie's picture

The vast majority of Americans are retards who live Obama, free shit, the NFL/NBA/NCAA, TV, Hollywood and other retardation.

The only thing that will save you is stacking baby.  Momma laying down suppression fire with .223 or 22 LR and pappy plugging them zombies with .308.    Jesus saves and so does your FAL, AR or AK.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

Chuck Norris is my fav Hollywood propogandist!!


midtowng's picture

When people spend their time in front of a TV rather than talking to their neighbors, it should surprise no one that everyone is afraid of one another.

francechinaman's picture

Unfaithful people are often the most jelous ones..

Sudden Debt's picture

You acuse your neighbour of the actions you do yourself.

Ignatius's picture

'Projection' is one theory in psychology that rings true.

jimmytorpedo's picture

Failure to bond with your primary care giver leads to a lack of trust as an adult.

Lack of trust in society escalates rapidly once mothers start dropping their kids off at daycare when they are babies.

If you can't trust your mother, why would you trust anybody else?

All carefully thought out by TPTB.

Destroy the family and create sheeple who trust the government instead of each other.

Stay home with your kids



jimmyT              Have been saying that for forty years. When this country left the June Cleaver, mother in the home raising the children way of life, it all turned ugly. Just weeds where we used to have roses, nobody caring for the garden.

akak's picture

I have found that those who are the least trustworthy are often, if not usually, those who are also the least trustful of others, as one almost invariably judges the rest of humanity based on their own self-image, both conscious and subconcious.

Croesus's picture

I have found that people who you might not think you could trust, are often the most trustworthy, while the people "you should" be able to trust, are the biggest liars out there. 


Dr Benway's picture

There are studies on cooperation, reciprocity and trust that confirm your gutfeeling.

PT's picture

He lies, cheats, steals, and laughs at the naivete of those who trust him.  The good people learn to avoid him.  The smart people learn to avoid him.  And then he complains that you can't trust anyone and good people are stupid.  He is too stupid to see that he has created his own hell on earth.

Sudden Debt's picture

Paranoia... yeah... what a wonderfull world we live in.

Well, I trust everybody unless there's money involved. It's pretty easy actually. Don't give money to anybody, not even family or friends.
Don't do business with friends or family.
And don't tell jokes to you're best friends wife. Hands off.
And you'll be able to trust everybody and have nice social life.

If you can think for yourself you'll be fine.

The real problem is, most people don't think for themselves and blame oters when they made a bad mistake.

tsx500's picture

SD you forgot one more ... if you meet a man who meets all three of the following :  can't hit more than 2 out of 20 free-throws ; doesn't know how many states in the USA ; names his dog after himself ..... don't trust him.    and definitely DON'T elect him president.

shiftless's picture

I would say it's more like 1/3 who can't be trusted. From my watching of polls and other data it would seem there is a solid 1/3 of this country who are truly clueless fucktards. They are the dumb assholes who rally around their God Obama, giving verbal fellatio and believing every word that drips off his forked tongue. They will ride their goats straight into Hell with nary a clue.

lakecity55's picture

It is a proven fact Bath House uses NLP to captivate his audiences. Watch the same speech with the sound on, then wait a few minutes and watch it with the audio off. Verrry interrrresting.....

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Wait until things get really bad.

lakecity55's picture

Well, at that point, (ugh) I'll add a picture of the Wookie.

tsx500's picture

We are in a recovery.  Maria and Cramer said so .   I'm goin' with that. 

Duc888's picture



Turning in your neighbor will be the next growth industry.  Everything is going along as planned.  Hope and change muthafukkerz!



Ignatius's picture

Already making a list.  That one neighbor's dog shits in my yard just one more time...

lakecity55's picture

I put up a window altar with Backdoor Barry's picture surrounded by low light LEDs and a small pair of plastic hands in a worshipful pose beneath the photo. I'm good.

Ignatius's picture

Be flexible.  I'd keep a picture of the Pope, Mitt and Osama in reserve.