Schumpeter，Suspicious minds,The economic consequences of Americans’ distrust
AMERICA is a grumpy and confused place. For an overarching explanation of what has gone wrong, a decline in trust is a good place to start. Trust can be defined as the expectation that other people, or organizations, will act in ways that are fair to you. In the White House and beyond there is precious little of it about. People increasingly view institutions as corrupt, strangers as suspicious, rivals as illegitimate and facts as negotiable.
The share of Americans who say “most people can be trusted” fell from 44% in 1976 to 32% in 2016, according to a survey from the University of Chicago. In a new book, “The Retreat of Western Liberalism”, Edward Luce, a commentator for the Financial Times in Washington, argues that distrust will contribute to America’s decline and eventually, even, to autocracy. Lack of faith is chewed over in boardrooms, too. In his latest letter to shareholders, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s boss, describes trust as America’s “secret sauce” and worries that the bottle is running dry.
根据芝加哥大学的一项调查，认为“大多数人可以信任”的美国人比例从1976年的44%下降到2016年的32%。《金融时报》驻华盛顿评论员爱德华·卢斯(Edward Luce)在新书《西方自由主义的退却》(The Retreat of Western Liberalism)中指出，不信任将加速美国的衰落，甚至最终导致独裁。公司董事会也在琢磨缺乏信任的问题。摩根大通的老板杰米·戴蒙(Jamie Dimon)在最近给股东的信中将信任称为美国的“秘方”，并担心装秘方的瓶子快要空了。
The tricky bit is reconciling this distrust with the rosy business outlook. The S&P 500 index is near an all-time high, even though many economists say that distrust is toxic for prosperity because transactions become dearer and riskier. An OECD study of 30 economies shows that those with low levels of trust, such as Turkey and Mexico, are far poorer. Three scholars, Luigi Guiso, Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, have shown that pairs of countries (such as Britain and France) whose populations say they distrust each other, have less bilateral trade and investment.
这种不信任与美妙的商业前景放在一起似乎很不协调。标准普尔500指数目前接近历史高点——尽管许多经济学家认为不信任会扼杀繁荣，因为交易的成本会更高，风险会更大。经合组织对30个经济体的研究表明，信任水平较低的国家，比如土耳其和墨西哥等，要比美国贫穷得多。路易吉·圭索(Luigi Guiso)、佩奥拉·萨皮恩扎(Paola Sapienza)和路易吉·津加雷斯(Luigi Zingales)等三位学者证明，如果两个国家的民众对彼此都表示不信任，它们之间的双边贸易和投资也较少，比如英国和法国。
America’s mistrust outbreak can be split into two parts: what consumers think, and what firms think. The share of folk who have “little or no confidence” in big business has risen from 26% in 1976 to 39% in June, according to Gallup. For banks it has risen from 10% in 1979 to 28% today. Over decades big firms have broken implicit promises to their employees, such as providing a job for life and paying generous pensions. That has probably soured the public’s view. And the financial crisis of 2007-08 blew a giant hole in the reputation of big business and finance.