Chapter One

The Decision to Trust

Trust is central to human existence. Like all social animals, human beings have an instinctive need to cooperate and rely on each other in order to satisfy their most basic emotional, psychological, and material needs. Without trust, we are not only less happy as individuals but also less productive in groups. Research has linked the virtues and benefits of trust to economic prosperity, societal stability, and even human survival.1 The powerful effect of trust is that it enables cooperative behavior without costly and cumbersome monitoring and contracting. In short, trust is a form of social capital that enhances performance between individuals, within and among groups, and in larger collectives (for example, ...

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