TrustTalk - It's all about Trust

Trust & the Future of Democracy

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Episode notes

Our guest today is Francis Fukuyama. He is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a faculty member of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, and a professor of Political Science. His interest in philosophy and inspiration for his later work came from his undergraduate teacher, Allan Bloom. He talks about interpersonal trust that enables formal institutions to establish property rights and the rule of law and a commercial code to promote economic activity, about the lack of trust that will add to transaction costs and make business dealings much more difficult.

When asked about the eroding political trust he talks about the rise of populist politicians and the distrust they foster against institutions as well as media to gain power, the elite losing sight of the views of ordinary people, being unresponsive and unaccountable, which has led to a crisis of trust in political institutions. We talk about information distortion, conspiracy theories, and the imperviousness of fact-checking and evidence.

He counters China and Russia’s arguments that liberal democracy is an obsolete system, and talks about Putin’s Ukraine war and the effects that any outcome will have on other conflicts in the world, the Biden election win denial in the US, people’s disenchantment with European institutions for not delivering.