The Trust Week in Review

 

Introducing The Week in Trust: a weekly look at the world through trust-related eyes.

Part news-roundup, part mind-stretching and whimsical, part commentary that didn’t have enough zip to make it into the blog, but which needs saying.

Big Story Department.  

Regulation has got to be the story this week.   Regulation, at least to my schizophrenic view of things, represents the failure of capitalism to regulate itself.  I believe that business is a higher calling, and that it ought to be capable of long-term self-interested thinking.  But you couldn’t prove that by recent history.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Wednesday’s announcement represented “the most sweeping reorganization of financial-market supervision since the 1930s.”

Bruce Carton’s most excellent Securities Docket explains in not-that-complicated language why the WSJ is not being hyperbolic.  Credit cards, exotic derivatives, small banks, private equity, hedge funds, insurance—not to mention more energy behind enforcement.  It’s all coming down the pike.

And it’s not just the finance sector.  Let’s not forget (hey it was way back at the beginning of the week) that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA to those who can read alphabet soup) will be regulating tobacco.  That was a long time in the making, and a milestone of sorts.

Why such a sudden glut of regulation?  On some level sure, it’s the Democrats. But Democrats can’t just regulate for the heck of it, and not all of them want to anyway.

I contend it is, as I stated above, a failure of self-regulation.  Whether it’s mortgage brokers or CFPs or regional airlines or credit card companies, what precedes regulation is a mountain of self-justifying rhetoric, aimed at short-term benefit of market players against consumers: ironically, thus harming the industry long term.

But enough about regulation, it’s Friday.  Let’s raise our sights.

Who Knew Department. 

What do you do if you’re a government with an endemic social dishonesty problem?  If you’re Indonesia, you open up 7500 ‘honesty cafes,’or food stores where the responsibility of paying the right amount is left to the customer.    I don’t know of any larger-scale attempt at testing the old saw that ‘the fastest way to make a man trust you is to trust him.’  Early returns are it’s working great in schools; in government offices, not quite so much.  

Hey, it’s the principle behind vaccines—expose them to a little bit of trusting, and they’re inoculated against being untrustworthy.  Nothing new to readers of this blog.  But way more fun.

Do guns kill people, or – does lack of trust kill them?  One of those academic studies that makes you scratch your head a bit; you know there’s some truth there even if it’s cleverly hidden behind the English language.

Trust Angles Department.

It’s one thing when a bucketshop broker or a used car dealer gets accused of being untrustworthy—right or wrong, that’s the price of being stigmatized as low-trust. Ho hum.

But what if you’re known for high trust and you get accused?  Ouch.  Big Ouch.  For example, the Canadian Conference Board. Ouch, I say.

What’s it mean to trust your babysitter?  Find out.

You may think trust is down, down, down.  After all, that’s the drumbeat du jour.  But how many of you are happily using cloud computing?  What an act of trust that is.  And sometimes, maybe it lets you down.  But–have you stopped using it?  And what does that say about your level of trust.

Your Opinion Department.

PGA pro Vijay Singh is still wearing his sponsor’s golf hat.  His sponsor, interestingly, is mini-Madoff  Stanford Financial.   Hate it when that happens. 

Is he being loyal?  Or stupid?  You be the judge.  

Please give me some feedback: should The Trust Week in Review be a regular Friday feature of TrustMatters?  Enquiring minds (ours) want to know.
 

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