Jan 31, 2018

Crisis in trust a product of governments too busy helping companies to help us

With global trust levels stagnating, and still declining in Australia, it's time we understood why people in democracies don't like their governments.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Evidence from The Berlin Wall shows government surveillance undermines trust and economic performance

Of once primarily academic interest, the ongoing decline in trust in countries like Australia and the US could be an overlooked symptom of the ongoing crisis in neoliberalism.

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7 thoughts on “Crisis in trust a product of governments too busy helping companies to help us

  1. Charles Richardson

    Surely the high levels of trust reported in China, Russia, Singapore and Turkey might have something to do people being reluctant to give honest answers to questions from strangers about their view of the government.

  2. 124C4U

    It seems to me that if the above article is correct, then we can only expect our government to copy China, Russia etc.
    Could well be a reason for the rise and rise of Ubersturmbanfurer der Grenstruppen, Von De Tern.
    Not to mention all the extra squillion $ for “security”.

  3. AR

    The denizens of China & Russia trust their governments to do what exactly?

    1. kyle Hargraves

      I am able to speak for China (but less so for Russia and Turkey) and I can say that, inter alia, the citizens trust the Chinese Government (specifically the Education Bureau of each Provence), to provide a good education (superior in every respect to that Oz in terms of reading, writing and arithmetic and geography – history is improving – and anyone can travel to Hong Kong and buy what books they wish), a good to excellent public transport system; (the metro trains travel twice the distance than they do in Perth, Sydney & Melbourne for a given interval of time) and a well above average health care system which is user-pays but “affordable” to an extent.

      The thru-put per day at a public hospital in China is about 5 to 10 times that of any public hospital in Oz or NZ for the same quantity of Doctors. There is seldom any kind of “pesonal” consultation; almost all the patients are “multi-tasked” but the system works. The same could be said of Asia generally.

      Similarly for the legal system; the thru-put there is fairly rapid too! A month-long trial might exist in a novel but, on reflection, would probably be “stretched” to a fortnight at most.

      Then there is the “integration” of urban and rural Chinese residence. The rules are complicated but change each year for the “better”. Managing 1.3 billion people requires skill and enterprise.

      In addition to public transport the upkeep and improvement of the roads is impressive. Its a pity that the quality of the driving isn’t equal to the quality of the roads but be that as it may.

      Retirement age in China is 60 and YES China does have a minimum wage which is enforced. An employer who is “sprung’ looses his butt.

      There is internet “censorship” but there are equivalent apps that do as well, or better, (e.g. WeChat) than what is available at Google Store or Apple Store. I wouldn’t say bing is a substitute for google but it isn’t far away. Bing
      and bidu (combined) would come very close to what google could locate. Many of the apps are gov sponsored or encouraged.

      Lastly, the Chinese citizens trust their government to provide smart phones, sophisticated network routers (even if they are clones of Cisco) and aircraft carriers to sort out latent issues in the South China Sea. The military is also
      a large employer. President Xi is very popular and, by Chinese standards, approachable. He (or his staff) write a good deal about the topics of the day; more so than any poli in Oz.

      The case is roughly similar in Russia although, in my view, the management is superior in China. The standard of education in Russia exceeds that of Oz but has declined, significantly (comparing topics in e.g. yr 10) to that which existed during the Communist era. More deserves to be said but I’ll leave it there.

      Convinced at this point AR or do you request further enlightenment?

  4. Graeski

    Wait … are we talking about trusting the incumbent mob of inveterate liars’ core promises or non-core promises?

    As to why any of us would be less then 100% trusting of these crims, I have absolutely no idea …

  5. Duncan Gilbey

    Welcome to Tommorrowland.

  6. kyle Hargraves

    Overall an innovative article even if the analysis undertaken has utilised an ordinal scale.

    “..snip..highly interventionist and regulatory regimes like China, Russia, Singapore and Turkey start to make more sense”.

    One has to make a distinction between trust (per se) and nationalism or national identity. The students (e.g. yr10 or 11) of such countries possess a sense of nationality that simply isn’t apparent in either Oz or NZ (and I may speak for both) although somewhat more so in the USA – to identify another 1st world English speaking country. A similar comment applies to students (of
    equivalent age) in the Middle East; perhaps somewhat less so in the Gulf states but difficult to draw an impression.

    As to “trust” the track record of the highly regulated economies (thus discrediting EVERYTHING Milton Freedman ever wrote – e.g. “Capitalism and Freedom” : indistinguishable from Ayn Rand!) of Singapore and China is rather good. The “top echelon” management is first class and the base isn’t too bad. If the “middle” management as as good as either (and not assigned to a role of “order-taker”) the West really would be in trouble in terms of competition.

    The government of Turkey is rather erratic (if anyone has noticed; Erdogan began life as a reformer) and Putin has been at the helm (in various capacities) for 18 years. So, for Asia (and I write from experience of the countries mentioned), the word trust is applicable; for the remainder a synonym may serve the sentiments of the citizens better.

    As an (interesting) observation, with the exception of Syria prior to the protests, such countries do not have a welfare system as we (in Oz) understand the term – although “variations” exist in the Gulf States. What one might make of that observation I have no idea but it is interesting – given the level of patriotism.

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