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Why is Trust so Vital to Who we are and How we live our lives?

Photo: MediaMath

I am prompted to write this blog after reading a disturbing report on the increased lack of trustworthiness in the UK, “Britain 'is suffering a huge loss of faith in its institutions': Trust in all politicians has slumped to an all-time low, say researchers”.

The pertinent questions now are: How can we live and lead a good life when we can trust no one and no one trusts us? Or, is life possible or meaningful without trust? Let me explain a bit more:

As it has been observed time and again, “Trust is the treasure of our daily lives. However, we do not understand its value. It is generally seen that trust in our daily lives is disappearing fast.

Why have we become so suspicious that we cannot enter into meaningful relationships with each other? Why can we not behave as normal human beings? After all when we were born as human beings the first lesson we learnt was that we should trust each other. However, as our lives progressed slowly, trust began to diminish. Our childhood innocence has given way to calculations in which there is no place for trust.

Trust in each other gives strength and vitality to our relationships. It gives us inner happiness, which is priceless. It brings joy all around and life appears brighter and brighter. Its fragrance spreads far and wide. Trust keeps us in a positive mental framework. When you trust each other you feel self-confident. The feeling of believing others is electrifying. It not only provides sense of security but provides new zeal to fight the vagaries of life. Trusting each other gives us a sense of deep bonding. It signifies that we are united to fight the battles ahead. Trust is a synonym for warmth in our relationships.

With so many advantages of trusting each other, how do we feel when germs of mistrust appear? Life appears to be devoid of colour and lacks spontaneity. We behave- mechanically- like robots .We constantly live with fear and tensions. We live in our shells. We are unable to share with each other. We live in suppressed condition, which inhibits the growth of our personality. As a result we are not able to contribute towards the betterment of society .We are not able to create a conducive atmosphere where there is transparency all around. A society whose foundation is built around trust is progressive and dynamic. Lack of trust signifies decay in the society.

To build trust, we must not indulge in unhealthy competition by trying to outwit each other. Instead we should master the art of rejoicing in the happiness of others. Good performance of others should spur us to act in a positive manner. Being jealous and competitive will be of no use as it will lead to destroying trust."

And now let me return to the article that has prompted this blog:

Britain 'is suffering a huge loss of faith in its institutions': Trust in all politicians has slumped to an all-time low, say researchers

Britain is in the grip of a ‘deep institutional crisis’ with trust in government, parliament and politicians at an ‘all-time low’, according to a recent study by The Economist Intelligence Unit which measured the health of democracy in 167 countries around the world.

The survey noted that the UK has one of the lowest political participation rates in the developed world – and even scoring below Palestine and Iraq.

Researchers said other institutions in Britain have suffered a decline in trust including the police, the church, the banks and the media.

The MPs’ expenses scandal, the handling of the Libor-rate rigging by the banks and other controversies were blamed for damaging public trust.

And the researchers warned that the inner-city riots during the summer of 2011 had ‘provided a glimpse of the unpredictable consequences of institutional breakdown’.

Last November, only 15 per cent of the public bothered to take part in elections for police and crime commissioners. Turnout for a string of Parliamentary by-elections has fallen below 50 per cent.

According to the Intelligence Unit, the participation rate in British politics was ranked below all of the major powers in Europe, and a string of nations which were not even considered to have fully functioning democracies. These included Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia and Namibia.

For all categories in the study, which also included civil liberties, the UK was ranked 16th out of 167 countries in 2012, placing it towards the bottom of the 25 nations considered a ‘full democracy’.

But The Economist magazine’s researchers said it would have been lower, had it not been for ‘deteriorating conditions elsewhere’.

These included a loss of democratic accountability in countries hit by the eurozone crisis, which have been forced to take orders from Brussels.

The UK was ranked below the Netherlands (10th), Ireland (13th) and Germany (14th).

In a damning indictment of the political class, the researchers warned that the UK is ‘beset by a deep institutional crisis’.

They said: ‘Problems are reflected across many elements – voter turnout, political party membership, the willingness of citizens to engage in politics and their attitudes towards it. Trust in government, parliament and politicians is at an all-time low.’

The report suggests it is unsurprising that voters are losing faith in politicians. ‘Over the past few years the British public’s mistrust of politicians, and ruling institutions more generally, has had ample cause to deepen, amid a series of scandals ranging from parliamentary expenses and “cash-for-questions” to Libor-fixing and payment protection scams, phone-hacking and police cover-ups,’ it says.

And there has been widespread concern among consumer groups at the failure of the Government fully to hold the bankers to account for triggering the financial crash.

The researchers, based in London, also commented on the 2011 riots. ‘The elite reaction to the riots was a warning of what can happen when society’s institutions are no longer clear what they stand for and do not function as they should,’ the report says.

‘The initial failure of the authorities to respond to the breakdown of law and order on the streets of London provided a glimpse of the unpredictable consequences of institutional breakdown.’

The researchers warned of more problems ahead. ‘The gulf between the country’s citizens and the political elite is a cause of concern given the depressed state of the economy, and the gloomy outlook,’ they said.

‘The Coalition is still in the early stages of implementing the deepest sustained period of real-term public spending restraint since 1945.

‘There is a clear risk of escalating resentment among affected groups, particularly if further state support is offered to the deeply unpopular financial sector.’

Now you have it:

Margaret Thatcher in 1979 promised the British people that she will put “Great” back into “Great Britain” if they go for her neoliberal philosophy: public is bad and private is good. All must be privatised, deregulated and all values must be monetised.

Perhaps this is the price you pay when you privatise everything, every value and life itself.

Hope this serves as a warning to the next generation: Do not allow yourselves to be fooled, as we have!

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