The rationale of trust building

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BY DR. ABDUL SABOOR

We are living in a society where there is profound dearth of trust among the masses across many lines. The major trust defi cit is found between the government and the public in many respects. On the blink of odd social pressure and undirected media, public has lost its confidence over the state machinery and its functionaries.

In most of the public and private offices, the employees are having limited trust on one another in the run of professional affairs. A high level of trust gap is shown between teachers and the taught at almost all levels of education. New generation is also confronting a severe trust deficit with their parents and other family members. Hardly there is any sector free from the crisis of trust deficit. Even the judicial system of the country has become chronic victim of trust deficit in many angles. For politicians, judges are not trustworthy. For most of the judges, lawyers are not advocating in a rational and professional ways. Most of the journalists and media persons are not satisfied with the professional performance of lawyers and judges. Bureaucracy is not fairly happy with the government; so are the intellectuals and thinkers in the spectrum of technocracy. The decisions of government and establishment are perceived with doubt and suspicion. Ruling party is not building trust on parties sitting at the opposition benches. This is how the overall governance system in the country is erected on the weak social and psychological pillars. In the perspective of trust defi cit, all such a dilemma has not happened over night.

 

There are deep rooted and long established underpinnings some of which are quite diffi cult to retrieve. The root cause starts from an approach of individualism rather than collectivism. The social and education systems, formally as well as informally, demonstrated that all of us are more intelligent and better than all others. This pushes some of us to be entangled in the very nexus of superiority complex.

On the other hand, the deprived segments of population are convinced that their voice is useless and suff erings meaningless for the ruling elite. This drives them to the prison of inferiority complex. Besides inferiority and superiority complexes of our masses, we start losing the very fabric of honesty and integrity in our domestic, business and professional aff airs of life.

We start perceiving in our mind that this or that person is not reliable. He may be making a wrong use of his power for earning benefi ts. He may be making money through unfair means. We take a start of any matter with suspicion and ends it with more suspicion. Our own dishonesty has painted an image in our mind that all others are also as dishonest as we are ourselves. Moreover, we observed the leaders in all walks of life breaking their pledges and promises just for the sake of achieving their own benefi ts.

This further deepens the paint of our doubts on others. The process of molding of our mind to the tune of suspicion is still going on. Media around us is working in such a pattern that truth is intentionally kept hidden while lies are presented in such a beautiful fashion that the same may be looking like a truth. At some occasions, incomplete truth is marketed to invite the attention and support of innocent public.

But we do not realize the fact that such a half-truth is more dangerous than even the complete lie. This ultimately has left the people at the brink of trust defi cit with one another. This kind of social character of the nation has curtailed the process of development in the country. In actual, when we lose the trust on others, psychologically this magnifi es the idea that we have actually lost trust on ourselves. The more we lose confi dence on our own self, it is quite likely that we start doubting on others. If all others are also thinking in the same fashion, that makes the crisis more severe and stern. Similarly, in the very race of materialism, our leaders are swinging in the pendulum of getting quick gains through all means either by hook or by crook. This has violently shattered their personalities to the level of more materialistic day by day and thus they have failed to win others’ trust. Trust is the graceful fabric of life which falls in the moral codes of conduct rather than some penal codes. The government needs to start trusting on its people in the aff airs of raising their genuine voices and in the matter of tax payments. Business community needs more trust than any other stakeholder in the economy. A trustworthy working environment may also be created in state organs if the opinion of all stakeholders are taken into consideration. For that matter, the confi dence of civil servants needs to be boosted for getting high level of productivity and effi ciency. We will have to take it as a moral issue and mend the walls on moral fronts.

At school and college level, a country wide movement of trust building may be started with the help of the government and the civil society. Some pamphlets with attractive captions may be circulated in this regard. Media as a great power can be employed for enhancing the spectrum of this movement. A realization must be created among the new generation that trusting on oneself and with one another acts as a great power towards progress for individual and collective life.

This is how a huge market of trust may be established so that everyone could feel that trust building is earning a credit for one’s social and economic life. The whole rationale of trust building lies in social harmony particularly among all political parties. This specifi c cohesion would trickle down to the printed and electronic media where unnecessary war is always in vogue and that too on non-issues. Public men sitting at the high echelons in academia, bureaucracy, judiciary, journalism, legislation, and establishment should take a responsibility of executing the oath they have taken in the respect of their worthy positions.

They core of such an oath is not to break the trust of their public benefi ciary of their services. If this process is mobilized in all the state organs, the fruit would certainly transmit to the masses for further observing honesty and integrity. Building trust across masses is thus not only a great challenge for the government but also for the civil society to endeavor serious eff orts. The generation grown up in an environment of trust defi cit would have to be carefully trained and socialized for a trust based environment. This is only possible if they could watch their elders and leaders behaving in a trustful way.

Government can regain its dwindling trust from the population by fulfi lling all the promises it has made to the public. Moreover, in future they are to make only those commitments which could be made possible. No more fool of public should be made at the hands of government or any other invisible hand.

The writer is Professor of Economics, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi