IT IS easy to forget that even the most trivial commercial transactions rely on small acts of trust. Laws encourage good behaviour, but states lack the resources to force everyone to be good all the time.
Trust keeps society running. Just ordering a pizza requires faith that the dough will be well made, that the pizzeria will not abuse the customer’s credit-card information, and that the delivery man will not abscond with the cargo. More complex partnerships, of the sort that make long-run economic growth possible, require much higher degrees of trust.
New technologies, from sharing-economy apps to the blockchain, offer routes around some of the trust deficits that stand in the way of growth. Yet whether such solutions to problems of mistrust build on or undermine social ties is no easy question to answer.
Read more: Believing is seeing | The Economist