Four Pillars: On trust and sharing

Coding The Markets, via a comment on one of my recent posts, pointed me at Larry Harris’s book and associated website called Trading And Exchanges. As expected I’ve ordered the book and look forward to reading it.

Harris makes a nice distinction between trustworthiness and creditworthiness.

Something still niggles me though, above and beyond what I stated in my reply to the comment.

It’s about trust and sharing. P2P models of creation and co-creation work on P2P models of trust, and sharing is simpler as a result. When trust becomes something administered by a central body, most of the time it morphs into an unworkable administrative nightmare of hierarchical and structured and graduated permissions. A nightmare that becomes closer to Treacherous rather than Trusted, to borrow a phrase from the infosec world.

I just can’t see a P2P world buying into that kind of structure. Trust has to be something that is part of a relationship and simple and yes-no. I hope we never need to implement hierarchical need-to-know and eyes-only and clearance-level based approaches, because they have unintended consequences. Or at least unwished-for consequences, speaking personally.

They limit collaboration.

We have to find other ways of building trust models. And the permissions we give implicitly and explicitly as a result. I must look into powers of attorney. It is possible that they had well-bounded scopes, but I cannot believe that lawyers would have come up with a graduated model for the instrument; not when the instrument was an integral part of an attorney-client relationship.

I must look closer at Zopa and at GrameenBank as well, to try and understand what happens in the P2P world from a pure trust perspective. While I know them and understand their basic premises and models, I have not looked too deeply at their gubbins.

3 thoughts on “Four Pillars: On trust and sharing”

  1. when you are protected, trust is much easier, financial institutions and web lending businesses like Zopa, have implemented layers of protection therfore creating a confidence zone, whith a trust model
    Is this real trust? or is it artficial trust?

  2. The statement of “yes-no” for a trust relationship is explicitly binary and “I hope we never need to implement hierarchical need-to-know and eyes-only and clearance-level based approaches,” heavily implies that trust is binary single-celled condiition – no conditions and no caveats. But, of course, there are always caveats and conditions to trust. I trust someone as far as I can throw them means colloquially that you do not trust someone. Re-engineering that sentence to say I know how far I can throw them implies they are trusted but only up to a certain point.

    People or organisations can be trusted but more often they are trusted to carry a transfer of responsibility either up to some certain point or absolutely only for a limited number of responsibilities. Where, therefore, is this trust knowledge stored or is it indeed necessary to store it? Trust in some way – as opposed to confidence as you have talked about previously – is in some way in connected to a transfer of responsibility from one individual or organisation to another. If we cannot define what that responsibility transfer is in some way then can we define trust?

    Or is all this intellectual masturbation :)

  3. Interesting, as I should expect from you, Malc. When I say “as far as I can throw them” I never imply “up to a point”. When I use the phrase, I mean “not at all”. Binary.

    Being trusted “up to a point” is like being half-pregnant, half-married, half-unique. Trust is a bond within a relationship, a bond that can’t be broken down into smaller segments.

    You can have authorisation levels and credit limits and all that stuff segmented, but I think it has nothing to do with trust. It has to do with empowerment.

    I like the trust knowledge bit, but only after removing the granular bits. It is not a transfer of responsibility, but a sharing. In economic terms, I reckon we can call trust an extreme nonrival good, as Rishab Aiyer Ghosh would term it. It does not lose value when shared or replicated. In fact I would go further, trust increases the value of the trust-pair.

    As we face a war for talent, trust is going to get even more important. You don’t trust me, then don’t hire me. If you trust me then trust me. Don’t play games with me.

Let me know what you think

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