The Decline Of Trust

Sebastian Mallaby explains that our political and business leaders would get more done if we trusted them more and spent less time scrutinizing their behavior. At the same time, he recognizes that accountability is good and that our political and business leaders sometimes abuse our trust.

That seems incredibly obvious but apparently it’s quite insightful, since he got several column inches in today’s Washington Post to explain that to us.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kent G. Budge says:

    Not so obvious, since the trend seems to be towards closer scrutiny.

  2. Scrutiny isn’t the problem. The real problem is that the scrutinizers somehow manage to avoid the same level of scrutiny they feel entitled to exercise on others.

  3. legion says:

    Bingo, Charles. Hypocrisy is the new black…

  4. Anderson says:

    Incredibly obvious is a good day for Mallaby, as opposed to just plain wrong.

  5. Derrick says:

    This seems like a great unconvential wisdom argument, but the power and wealth that is now easier to attain by our business and political leaders has only made it harder to trust them. I would love to not scrutinize their practices but fool us twice shame on us.

    Even if you are a Bush fan, you should see that MORE scrutiny of his decision to confront Iraq by his allies might have been a good thing. He probably still would have attacked Iraq, but better questions might have produced better solutions to the current problems, many of which weren’t unforceable. More scrutiny in the mid 90’s of business leaders might have helped us avoid the Enron’s, WorldCom’s and hyper-appreciation in their pay relative to their performance. For one, I’m not convinced that they deserve less scrutiny or that it would even be a good thing.