Our System Has a Trust Deficit (And For Good Reason)

by | Feb 2, 2023

Our System Has a Trust Deficit (And For Good Reason)

by | Feb 2, 2023

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Trust is apparently an extremely elusive concept to implement. If you read The New York Times or Washington Post, you are told not to trust Fox News nor Newsmax nor OANN. If you listen to Fox News you are told not to trust the NYT nor WaPo nor CNN nor MSNBC. And they all seem to have derisive terminology they label each other while asserting that their label is the factual one. And that, you can trust. 

Democrats tell you to distrust Republicans. Republicans tell you to distrust Democrats. Republicans tell you to not trust any judge or bureaucrat nominated by Democrats nor RINOs. Democrats tell you not to trust anyone who is not ideologically aligned with them. 

Policy disputes are not treated as good faith disagreements with respect to ideology. No! Ideological differences are now described as bad faith actors engaging in criminal activities. 

Ironically, our system was designed not to trust any party nor any individual nor any group of people nor factions. To solve the trust issue, governance was decentralized within a system of multiple checks and balances. And that broad consent and consensus is required. Acknowledging that inalienable rights are inalienable, inviolate where no government encroachment nor trespass is permitted. 

Now we are told by those who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution that the answer to the trust and governance problems and dysfunction is to embrace single-party rule, eliminating checks and balances and, if only we confer and convey blind trust to those who deem themselves the anointed, then all our problems would be solved.

Trust, or more appropriately, the lack of or absence of trust, is a systemic problem. There is little to no effort to solve a systemic problem. The answer from the political class is that trust can only be established by electing their faction and only by electing their faction. Trust only them. That is why no one is trying to repair the system so that we trust the system itself. 

I think it would be very easy to mitigate distrust in legislation. Have all conversations with anyone regarding anyone or any institution that speaks to a member of Congress or their staff or any other person recorded and a transcript provided to the public. 

For any and every person who submits language that they deem should be included in legislation or any suggested edits, provenance should be established. We should know where every word came from. Whose pen that word derived from. Who wrote that word. Clear authorship and provenance for any and every word written. Every edit made. Any and every amendment proposed. The author should be clearly identified. No ghost writing permitted! That should constitute a fraud.

Then it should not only be made available to the legislators to adequately review before voting but town halls should be required prior to voting. And the document be made available online and for downloading, so every citizen who chooses to do so can read carefully the document with full knowledge of authorship and provenance and have the opportunity to discuss with their representatives prior to a vote. That’s informed consent.

Why and how should anyone trust a system where legislation is written by ghost writers with no provenance provided and no chain of custody established as to who has had input into the language? Once the system is transformed, trust depends upon the process and is completely independent of the people. Information asymmetry will be mitigated. Sunlight will replace darkness. Trust will be enhanced. Even if the people remain the same. 

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about how the most valuable currency is trust. Let’s consider our current money monopoly, which is a relatively recent phenomena of a marriage of fiat paper money embedded in a fractional reserve banking system that answers only to the State. This enables a perverse form of trust. Why perverse? You cannot trust that the medium of exchange, these IOU Nothings, will function efficiently and reliably. An efficient medium of exchange never suffers debasement. Its purchasing power should remain stable. And its value should not be subject to anyone’s manipulation. When the Fed announces any inflation target above zero, that means are telling you that they are intentionally debasing your money’s value. Further, they tell you the most legitimate thing to do with these IOU Nothings is spend it quickly.

Think about this process. You elect people who operate within a context of an institution that almost no one trusts. So these untrustworthy individuals operating in opacity, these kakistocrats, then vote to select a few individuals who share monopoly power over money and our financial system in partnership with the banks.

The kakistocrats refuse to allow the Fed to be audited. The Fed itself states that for them to be effective in carrying out their responsibilities, it requires deception and deceit. 

So we are supposed to trust an institution whose mission and purpose is to preserve the purchasing power of the medium of exchange? Take a look at any chart and examine the purchasing power of money prior to the establishment of the Fed in 1913, compared the debasement that occurred between 1913-1971, and then post-1971 when the dollar was completely untethered from gold. They have failed. They have failed miserably. 

Why would anyone trust a system where kakistocrats operating in the dark allocate control over the money monopoly to the people the kakistocrats choose? And where any reasonable metric demonstrates that have performed horribly. Yet they insist that for them to be effective, they should not be subject to audits and we should accept their need to employ deception and deceit. 

We will never improve our circumstances by changing the names of the people operating and controlling a corrupted governance. It is a systemic problem. A systemic problem will produce a people problem. People will be no better and only worse than the incentive structure. 

Without clear provenance—a ledger that accurately reflects the chain of custody and flow of information that’s not subject to censorship—then we cannot radically change incentives that actually reward trust.

There should be no debate that our system has systemically failed at intermediating trust. We need a trust revolution. That is something that people who ideologically disagree should concede. My advice, if they do not concede that, then do not trust them. 

About Jeffrey Wernick

Jeffrey Wernick is a private investor and early advocate and acquirer of bitcoin. He frequently lectures at his alma mater, the University of Chicago.

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