Trust: the commodity in shortest supply

January 28, 2009

Where do I put my money?
What do I read?
Who do I listen to?
Who saw it coming?
Who made money from it?
Who will make money from it?
Who can I trust?
As Davos gets under way, my feeling from chatting with contacts and listening to conversations around me is that one thing the world economy is really suffering from right now is a crisis in trust.

Institutions failed us. Governments failed us.

Our own intuition failed most of us (George Soros said today that he protected his capital and had a satisfactory return — that’s certainly better than I did!).

Our advisers failed us.
The media failed us too.

So before we buy again, or invest again, or behave normally again, people need an answer to the fundamental question — where can I invest my trust.

I think that’s the issue behind all of the discussions here.

And solving the related questions of “who is trustworthy now” and “what can we do to create trust in governments and institutions” seems a vital first step..

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Governments and institutions need to re-estasblish their social contract with society. See my post to Klaus Schwab. The critical component of the social contract is the higher duty of care and for an individual to be able to define when and how it will be applied when they sit in a position of trust.

I believe this take you beyond cost and reputation and in to an important area for business that involves giving true definition and action to the various nomenclature (CSR, Sustainability, Triple Bottome Line) that hint at responsiblity and responsible behaviour but do not deliver anything different.

Posted by Suzanne (London) | Report as abusive