Book of the week: when trust breaks down, so does civilisation

I’m presently reading “Liars & outliers: enabling the trust that society needs to thrive” by Bruce Schneier via my iPad Kindle app.

Written by a noted expert on internet and computer security, it is a wonderful and insightful meditation on trust, especially in the age of what Schneier calls our “hyper-connected society”.

Trust and the health of our society are linked:

“It’s what we call trust. Actually it’s what we call civilisation…”

“Society runs on trust” states Schneier and that failures in trust have become global problems.

He notes:

“Global production also means more production, but with it comes environmental pollution. If a company discharges lead into the atmosphere – or chlorofluorocarbons, or nitrogen oxide, or carbon dioxide – that company gets all the benefit of cheaper production costs, but the environmental costs fall on everybody else on the planet…”

When we fail to trust the tools that support our advanced industrial civilisation – the scientific method being one of the most critical – then we place a great deal at risk.

Conspiracy theories are symptoms of a break down of trust, a fracturing driven by fear, ideology and right-wing popularism.

Author interview here:

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