Are Levels Of Trust Higher in More Equal Rich Countries?

“The inexorable rise of the availability and use of surveillance cameras and other tools of the ‘security’ industry were in full view to the public in this shop in Portman Street, close to the start of the A41 in central London. There are few urban spaces in which we move which are not covered by the ever-seeing, prying eyes of CCTV. Different areas are subject to different levels of scrutiny.” The quality of social relations is worse in less equal societies.

Evidence on inequality in relation to trust, community life and violence all tell the same story. Inequality divides people by increasing the social distances between us and widening differences in living standards and lifestyles. By increasing residential segregation of rich and poor, it also increases physical distances. People trust each other most in the Nordic countries and the Netherlands; just within the rich market democracies there are at least five-fold differences in levels of trust, and researchers have shown repeatedly that high levels of trust are linked to low levels of inequality, both internationally and among the 50 U.S. States, and that trust is linked to health and well-being.