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We Don't Trust Each Other

Written by Ben Cheek on .

A new poll out by Pew Research takes a look at trust and values issues and how they are effecting choices for various generations of Americans.  One stat in particular really struck me.  Take a look:

Trends of Trust

What's amazing to me is that even among the most trusting generation, the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945), only 4-in-ten people believe they can trust others.  It only gets worse from there until you get to Millenials (born after 1980), where only 19% are trusters.

There's plenty of individual reasons erroding trust, but I think there's one common dynamic that is at the core of the trust problem: complexity.  Life has been getting exponentially more complex for each generation, and trust has taken a direct hit because of it.

I hear this a lot when I talk to GenXers and Millenials about social relationships.  Even though much more of their lives are connected and accessible to those around them, many of them feel very lonely.  This is a key symptom of distrust.  All the connectivity and access makes trust harder to build since it empowers rumor mills, secret-leaking, and general distraction.  I've heard this same thing in social and work circles.

Right now I'm doing a lot of work on complexity and the errosion of trust.  You can read about it my new book Vision Can Do Anything.

Do you think I'm right?  If not, what do you think is erroding trust.

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