Good People or a Trust System?


I’m in the US and my observation is that there’s no motivation for you to do bad stuff because the system will catch you. It’s that simple. To commit a crime here, you either have nothing to lose or you’re just mad.

We’re driving and my husband points out that he’s owing some toll fees. How? There wasn’t any stop at a toll gate. Then he points at a camera which he says had noted his plate number and with an encoded system will forward the bill to the number registered with the car. This data is automatically documented anywhere you have your official government name.

Fenceless houses with open drive ways, shopping malls without a physical attendant, an almost unconditional return policy are not necessarily evidential of how good a people Americans are but how much accountability is embedded in a system that affords you minimal excuse to do wrong.

I call it a system because it’s a virtue developed out of process rather than the reliance on the human’s will to do the right thing. The volatility of the human nature regardless of the colour of the skin is too risky to depend on for goodness or morality. In fact, morality is harder to define or attain where there’s scarce resources. Hence, it’s a tough call to expect morality in a place where 4 out of 10 people live in extreme poverty. More clearly, where half the population live below a dollar daily.

My thinking is that at different levels of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we will witness different forms of the human expression of vices and at different scale.

In hindsight, I think this is why some of them here may be susceptible to online scams. There’s a system that allows people trust the other person at the end of the call because however the transaction turns out, the State has their back. But, when you’re scammed by your fellow Nigerian, does the state know his address? His family? When he was born?

It gets difficult to do the right thing because there are no consequences just as it gets difficult to be trusting. And it is based on this that building a trust system is more rewarding and more result-driven than relying on the morality on humans anywhere.