The difference between a low trust society (few individuals within a trust circle outside your family and/or tribe) and a high trust society (general trust of individuals beyond immediate family/tribe associations) generally speaking can be measured as the difference between a low tech (low trust) and high tech (high trust) society. Yes, exceptions abound, but the general rule, largely, holds true.
Speaking of trust, our house is actually one full mile (that's 1.6km for those of you using real measurements, or 946.5 smoots) from our mail box. To say the box isn't visible is an understatement. Due to the hills, rocks & trees, I can barely get a radio signal all the way down there, let alone see it, or even set up some kind of wifi device down there. In short, we don't know when we've got mail (although, that's changing as technology does). However, until recently, this wasn't a big deal. I'd get the mail on the way to, or from, somewhere else. We have, or had, a pretty high-trust situation. However, in the last two weeks, the mail has been cleaned out, multiple times. So has our neighbors. We're now holding our mail (low trust) until we get a locking mailbox set up (even lower trust). I posted this recently on Facebook and had a few people respond that they recently had to do the same thing, in communities all over.
Are we starting to move from a high trust society to a low trust one? Personally, ever the optimist, I don't think so. I think society, as a whole, is as trustworthy as ever. However, a few bad apples can indeed spoil the bunch, as the saying goes. The real question for me is pretty simple, if we are in a migration to low trust, how will that impact technology? First up, innovation requires that we share beyond our family & tribe. To quote another aphorism, a rising tide & all that. However, beyond innovation, we're likely to hit issues with maintenance. Will we have to put guards on power distribution stations, lest those stinkers over the hill come and take it? As trust fails, it's not just simple stuff like that mail that gets impacted. Same thing for replacement parts for the water pumps, etc., etc.. The tail on our supply chains is far too long for the process to work when the only ones we can trust are our family and village. If the village over the hill is out to get us, one UPS truck hijacking could put us without water, lights, or food. You could even see, within organizations as trust breaks down, that the admin team has it in for the developers who really aren't enamored with QA who... You get the picture.
Being officially now an old man (I turned 60 a couple of months ago), I've seen a lot of changes over the decades. I'm here to tell you, especially if you're pessimistic, that in my 60 years, things have improved. Everything (well, except the amount of free time I have) has improved since I was a child. Everything. On all fronts. While our current, and recent, times may seem to be slipping a bit, I'm pretty sure it's an aberation. We'll find the postal thief (and I'm sure it's only one person), or they'll get in trouble somewhere else (because people who tend to steal & do bad things, tend to steal & bad things all over the place) and we'll be able to go back to trusting people... only with a locking mailbox. I suspect similar things will happen over the next couple of years all over with technology. A dip in trust will increase our security, and trust will come back.
What do you think, increasing, decreasing or staying the same on trust?