A Call for the Return of Trustworthiness!

by Nov 12, 20234 comments

I am working towards (and yearning for) the day when I can regain my trust in companies, government and institutions.

Recently, I booked a flight that was advertised for a very attractive price. Then I tried to book my seat—imagine my surprise when I discovered I would have to pay $50 to do that—each way! Really?  When I purchase a ticket, I don’t get a seat with that?

A few years ago, an oil company hit on the cunningly devilish idea of shuffling the order in which their pumps were arranged at their gas stations. Most people were daydreaming when they automatically reached for the left-hand pump (low-grade) and were mightily surprised when they learned they had just filled up their car with premium gas—a shock they experienced when they looked at their receipt! What kind of people think this stuff up?

The pharmaceutical industry has paid $33 billion in fines between 2003 and 2016, with the largest single fine being $10 billion. America’s second largest bank, Bank of America, has paid $82.7 billion in fines across 214 incidents.  In total, the financial services industry has paid (are you ready for this?) $330 billion in fines over the last 20 years—more than all other industries combined, and more than the combined GDP of 75 countries!

I yearn for the day when the medical system stops destroying health; lawyers stop destroying justice; psychiatrists stop destroying minds; scientists stop destroying truth; institutions stop destroying science; social media stops destroying democracy; corporations stop destroying trust; major media stops destroying information; religions stop destroying spirituality; and governments stop destroying freedom. I want to feel a sense of trust again, where I can feel confident in believing what I am told or what I see.

We are living in an age of transactions, not aspirations. We talk a good aspirational game about wanting to end climate change, for example, while we make more cars, build more roads, burn more coal and dig for more oil. Our short-term self-interest too often over-rides our long-term imperatives. As a consequence, governments, corporations and institutions make spurious, (and often criminal) choices that make money, improve the balance sheet, or save face for them in the short-term, but hurt people they are supposed to serve in the long-term.

What deviant institutional behavior upsets you the most?  And what are you planning to do that will reverse it?