Can we trust our elected representatives or is public life socorrupted that we can no longer rely on governments to protect ourinterests or even our civil liberties? Is the current mood ofpublic distrust justified or do we need to re-evaluate ourunderstanding of trust in the global age?
In this wide-ranging book, Russell Hardin sets out to dispel themyths surrounding the concept of trust in contemporary society andpolitics. He examines the growing literature on trust to analyzepublic concerns about declining levels of trust, both in our fellowcitizens and in our governments and their officials.
Hardin explores the various manifestations of trust and distrustin public life – from terrorism to the internet, socialcapital to representative democracy. He shows that whiletoday’s politicians may well be experiencing a decline inpublic confidence, this is nothing new; distrust in governmentcharacterized the work of leading liberal thinkers such as DavidHume and James Madison. Their views, he contends, are as relevanttoday as they were in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries andwe should not, therefore, be distressed at the apparent distrust oftwenty-first century government. On a personal level, Hardincontends that the world in which we live is much more diverse andinterconnected than that of our forebears and this will logicallyresult in higher levels of personal trust and distrust betweenindividuals.
Written by one of the world's leading authorities on trust, thisbook will be a valuable resource for students of government andpolitics, sociology and philosophy.