In God We Trust, Maybe, But Not Each Other

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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, an AP-GfK poll finds 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.


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