Is it too late for us?
September 7, 2010
Our investigation has taken a turn towards trust.
Trust is a critical issue when creating more equal societies. For example, high trust means low crime (or maybe low crime means high trust). Having spoken to experts on social trust and its roots, it became clear that trust came from the culture of a society: the way people treat each other, and the environment they grow in.
It seems impossible and to be honest undesirable to copy another culture, so we are all doomed.
Or are we? The question arises, what can one do to generate a trusting culture? I was perplexed at the idea of changing a culture, seemingly so closely linked to the organic development of culture through history and tradition. Without changing history it seems improbable that the way we treat each other could be rapidly altered.
Creating legislation can be an option to instantaneously force a society to act differently. For example, the one child policy in China reversed the culture of large families. However, this was enforced through undesirable methods. In Sweden, the laws on paternity are moving the country towards equal rights for fathers over the next 10-15 years.
Perhaps we are beyond hope but the future is not? We can plant the ideas for the next generation through politics and education. In a democratic society, the people are free to choose what kind of society they would like to live in. I mentioned before that to change things from a base level, we must look to education. But before we educate the young, we must first agree what it is we want to teach them.
Since the writing of this blog, we have interviewed a history professor called Lars Trägårdh, who has lived the past 40 years both in Sweden and the US. As a result my perspective is changing. Look out for his interview soon!