Most policy makers still don’t understand the urgent need to restore trust in our financial system, or the need to prosecute Wall Street executives for fraud and other criminal wrongdoing.
But top economists have been saying for well over a decade that trust is necessary for a stable economy, and that prosecuting the criminals Is necessary to restore trust.
Trust is Necessary for a Stable Economy
In his influential 1993 book Making Democracy Work, Robert Putnam showed how civic attitudes and trust could account for differences in the economic and government performance between northern and southern Italy.
Political economist Francis Fukiyama wrote a book called Trust in 1995, arguing that the most pervasive cultural characteristic influencing a nation’s prosperity and ability to compete is the level of trust or cooperative behavior based upon shared norms. He stated that the United States, like Japan and Germany, has been a high-trust society historically but that this status has eroded in recent years.