Trust and Indian Society : A very short note

‘Game theory’ has it’s most unforgiving situation known as ‘grim’. If two parties A and B are dealing with each other under some norms and if one of them breaks these norms then other once can accept ‘grim’ i.e. B will never do business with A again or vice versa. This is very much established that ‘trust’ is the prime factor among the individuals and organizations which enables them to do business together smoothly. Game theory tries/should try its best to predict how the situation will turn out to be under the changing dynamics of trust.

It is also being established that societies in which ‘trust’ among people is higher are better off (see works of Partha Dasgupta). In relationships, trust is perhaps one of the most important factor a sustainable relationships. In low-trust society, people generally do not accept grim. The first few instances of trust-breaking serves as eye opener rather than something enough for accept ‘grim’. They think, "We’ll be careful next time." In these societies, breaking trust does not attract as big a penalty as it could have attracted in the land of puritans. For instance, if one cheats on his/her life partner, other generally does not ask for divorce (a situation of ‘grim’ here). They might easily become careful, vigilant etc but they do not go for the most extreme. While puritans will cry inside himself/herself and will not get satisfied without asking for the extreme penalty i.e. divorce. Which by the a way is the most suitable option for him/her. A puritan (with high and non-negotiable set of ethics) just can’t live with compromises. This may or may not make his/her life easier or his/her behavior might not be approved by the society per se but …

In India, southern states must be having a higher level of trust among them than the northern counterparts. Cases of road rages in outer Delhi at any given day can easily surpass the whole of the Tamilnadu. Well this may be an overstated argument. I have lived in Delhi and Chennai.

Indian corporate media has played and is playing a very grim role in decaying the whatever trust we have between our teenagers of different genders. Most of the stories/news we see in media are generally are the stories where the trust is being broken. The graphic details of these incidence as well as the hypes by media increases the suspicion among the young girls and boys and this is more acute in girls since they are at the receiving ends, mostly. Though this is the job of media to report the incidents but the priorities and the restrain from making is spicy is missing. We too like to read them hence a vicious cycle is made. The assholes on the street demand drugs so the gentleman sells them. If you argue with him why he is selling drugs to them then you know, He is a nice guys, the assholes on the street demand it, what can he do?

The social dynamics plays a crucial part in an individual life if one like/is tempted to be a part of it. In society which is approved of compromising behavior (like easy on corruption or violence), a life of a puritan may be really hard.  This is a well established observation that any system is not kind for non-complying entities. In Indian Police, by and large, a non-corrupt policeman is a laughing stock. In a same way, a capitalist is a thing to ridicule among the Marxists. A hardworking farmer may be considered fools by entrepreneurs. But these are the larger pictures and need careful attention of a sociologist.


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