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OtherWise by Dick Martin

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29The Chicken Soup of Social Life

“Trust is the chicken soup of social life,” according to University of Maryland political scientist Eric Uslaner. By that, he means it’s good for what ails us, operates rather mysteriously, and is somewhat oversold as a cure-all.

Not that he doubts the importance of trust. Trust is an essential element of cooperative behavior. Jill won’t go up the hill with Jack if she doesn’t trust him to help carry the pail of water on the way down. Similarly, President Reagan wouldn’t blindly trust Prime Minister Gorbachev to cut the Soviet Union’s stockpile of weapons. What Jill and Reagan were exercising was strategic trust, based on their individual assessments of their counterpart’s sincerity and competence to, respectively, ...

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