In God we trust, maybe, but not each other

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans don't trust each other anymore.

For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy -- trust in the other fellow -- has been quietly draining away.

These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.

Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.

Does it matter?

Social scientists say it does.

What's known as "social trust" brings about good things.

A society where it's easier to compromise or make a deal. Where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good. Where trust even appears to promote economic growth.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments