The Moral Foundations of Trust

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The Moral Foundations of Trust seeks to explain why people place their faith in strangers and why doing so matters. Trust is a moral value that does not depend on personal experience or on interactions with people in civic groups or informal socializing. Instead, we learn to trust from our parents, and trust is stable over long periods of time. Trust depends on an optimistic worldview: the world is a good place and we can make it better. Trusting people are more likely to give through charity and volunteering and are more supportive of rights for groups that have faced discrimination. Trusting societies are more likely to redistribute resources from the rich to the poor and to have more effective governments. Trust has been on the wane in the United States for more than thirty years, the roots of which are traceable to declining optimism and increasing economic inequality, trends Uslaner documents with aggregate time series in the United States and cross-sectional data across market economies.
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Editorial Reviews

In a previous book, (1993), Uslaner (government and politics, U. of Maryland, College Park) linked the increasing incivility in Congress to a decline of trust among Americans. In this new work, the author centers on the issue of trust itself, with a particular focus on why people trust strangers, how and where such trust is significant, and reasons for the decline in trust in the U.S. Primarily a study of trust in the U.S., the text also examines survey data on trust in other counties. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521011037
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Trust and the Good Life 1
2 Strategic Trust and Moralistic Trust 14
3 Counting (on) Trust 51
4 The Roots of Trust 76
5 Trust and Experience 115
6 Stability and Change in Trust 160
7 Trust and Consequences 190
8 Trust and the Democratic Temperament 217
Epilogue: Trust and the Civic Community 249
App.: A 257
App.: B 261
App.: C 267
References 271
Author Index 287
Subject Index 292
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