Trust

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Trust

fschmidt
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In the long run, people will act in their best self-interest.  In the short term, people are influenced by culture, fashion, and other things.  But when something like culture conflicts with self-interest, it is culture that eventually changes to be better aligned with people's self-interest.

The prisoner's dilemma is an example of an analysis of self-interest.  It is a question of whether or not to cooperate based on the assumption that you will be dealing with the other person again.  If you know that you will never deal with the other person again, it is always in your interest to be selfish and not cooperate.  The prisoner's dilemma doesn't address the question of what happens if other people who you may deal with in the future can see your actions.

Trust enables cooperation.  Cooperation requires trust and benefits all involved.  But like with the prisoner's dilemma, each individual has to decide for himself whether it is in his best interest to be trustworthy.  And like in the prisoner's dilemma, the best outcome for any individual is to be selfish where others are cooperative.  In other words, to be a parasite in a cooperative culture.  If an individual can get away with this, he will live very well.  What this means is that cooperative cultures will naturally self-destruct if there isn't some force to punish dishonesty.

There seems to be a natural cycle to cultures.  Strong cultures begin as a small tribe with a high degree of trust.  This leads to cooperation which makes the tribe more powerful than its neighbors which then causes the tribe to win wars and expand.  Eventually the culture becomes an empire.  In the empire, it is much harder to enforce honesty, so dishonesty grows and the culture becomes corrupt.  The corruption weakens the culture until it collapses.

There are two exceptions to this pattern, China and Judaism.  China has remained an empire for far longer than other cultures.  As cooperation broke down in society, it was replaced by a social network.  In China, personal connections mean a lot.  There is no trust in China outside of personal connections.  But personal connections are enough to allow for some degree of cooperation among those who are connected, so China has managed to function far longer than most empires.  Judaism takes the opposite approach.  Judaism has maintained the tribal means of enforcing trust.  But this trust didn't lead to strength and conquest because Jews were geographically distributed and were minorities where they lived.  So it was the failure of Jews to turn trust into an empire that has allowed Judaism to last for so long.

There is probably nothing more important than trust in determining the success of a culture.  If you cannot trust your doctor, your plumber, your accountant, or anyone who you deal with, then your life will be a constant struggle.  In such a society, specialization is impossible because everyone has to know enough about everything to avoid being screwed over by others.  Today one can see lack of trust in the third world where nothing works and no one trusts anyone else.  In first world countries, trust is rapidly in decline but is still above third world levels.  As trust continues to decline, we can expect first world countries to become more and more like third world countries.

Aside from the societal and economic issues, there is also the issue of quality of life.  Living in a culture where one cannot trust one's friends seems far from ideal.  My ideal is a community where I can trust others in the community.  Such a place is my utopia.

What enables trust and cooperation?  It has to be conditions where being trustworthy is in people's self-interest.  And this requires negative consequences for untrustworthy behavior.  In modern culture, there are no such consequences, so the decay of trust is inevitable.  In an area of small tribes competing in a harsh environment, violating trust can mean expulsion from your tribe which can easily lead to death.  Such consequences encourage trustworthy behavior.  The Chinese model of a social network is somewhere in between.  In this case, violating trust will break some of your social network but not all.  So the level of trust in China will always be mediocre, neither very strong nor completely decayed like in the third world.

Aside from forming a tribe in some primitive place, is there any way to create trust in the modern world?  I think there is by forming small groups that have clear rules for expelling those who violate trust.  Like the tribal model, this is based on a small set/group of people.  This model is much stronger than the social network model because if you violate trust, you lose the entire benefit of the group.  It seems that some religious groups have this to some degree where they punish members for violating their rules.

I hope that the CoAlpha Brotherhood can create trust among its members using this model.  Trust and cooperation will become increasingly valuable as the world around us decays.  This benefit is something that CoAlpha can offer even as a small group.  So I think trust should be one of the key selling points of the CoAlpha Brotherhood.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Trust

Drealm
The key to such a mechanism is first offering something of value. If there's nothing of value to lose, then the consequences will be meaningless.
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Re: Trust

fschmidt
Administrator
Doesn't trust itself have intrinsic value?  In other words, if CoAlpha has 10 people, then each person has 9 other people who they can trust that could be lost.  This would be like losing 9 links in your social network.

Of course this is more meaningful if we actually interact in meaningful ways and help each other out.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Trust

Drealm
No I think it has applied value. A person being trustworthy stems from them doing (positive action) or not doing (negative action) something. For example, not sleeping with another man's wife.

So I don't understand the consequence. Doesn't this imply the remaining members would have to act untrustworthy towards this disqualified member?
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Re: Trust

fschmidt
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Okay yes, the value of trust depends on its application to actions.  So the sequence is that a member thrown out for dishonesty could no longer trust members.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Trust

Ardia
I think what Drealm is asking is, is it a prerequisite that all members have to cut ties with a disqualified member, as a formal or informal rule, if said member acts dishonestly with one member and/or is (thus) thrown out.
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Re: Trust

Drealm
In reply to this post by fschmidt
fschmidt wrote
could no longer trust members.
This implies remaining members need to be dishonest towards the disqualified member. For example lets say a member sleeps with another member's wife and he's disqualified. Short of other members sleeping with his wife, he'll have no consequence. So this doesn't make sense to me.
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Re: Trust

Drealm
In reply to this post by Ardia
Ardia wrote
I think what Drealm is asking is, is it a prerequisite that all members have to cut ties with a disqualified member, as a formal or informal rule, if said member acts dishonestly with one member and/or is (thus) thrown out.
No I understand shunning. But shunning is removal of social relations. fschmidt is not advocating removal of social relations, but removal of trust. I don't see how you can remove trust short of putting the onus on remaining members to be dishonest towards the disqualified member.
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Re: Trust

fschmidt
Administrator
In reply to this post by Drealm
I don't know if we need actual shunning.  But I think there is a consequence to loss of trust.  It means that the disqualified person can't trust CoAlphas not to sleep with his wife, not to lie to him, etc.  In other words, he loses the benefit of being able to trust CoAlphas and he is effectively reduced to relationships on the level of common culture.  I know that in my case, this is meaningful.  I would go out of my way to do things for a CoAlpha, but I treat non-CoAlphas more or less like people in the modern world treat each other which means that I will not go out of my way to do much for them.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Trust

Drealm
fschmidt wrote
I don't know if we need actual shunning.  But I think there is a consequence to loss of trust.  It means that the disqualified person can't trust CoAlphas not to sleep with his wife, not to lie to him, etc.  In other words, he loses the benefit of being able to trust CoAlphas and he is effectively reduced to relationships on the level of common culture.  I know that in my case, this is meaningful.  I would go out of my way to do things for a CoAlpha, but I treat non-CoAlphas more or less like people in the modern world treat each other which means that I will not go out of my way to do much for them.
I understand this is a means to an end. But the means strike me equally as a penalty for remaining members. Seeing as they're the ones whom need to bear the burden of becoming dishonest.
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Re: Trust

fschmidt
Administrator
Drealm wrote
I understand this is a means to an end. But the means strike me equally as a penalty for remaining members. Seeing as they're the ones whom need to bear the burden of becoming dishonest.
I don't think you need to become dishonest with the ex-member.  It is enough that you feel no obligation to do anything for him.  But other CoAlphas are free to be dishonest with the ex-member, so the ex-member won't know who he can trust.

If CoAlpha membership has value, then loss of membership will be a punishment.  And if CoAlpha membership doesn't have value, then we aren't going to get members to begin with.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Trust

Drealm
You're speaking about trust as though it's a concrete resource in and of itself. Trust is very subjective in how it's applied. So I'd see difficulty in withdrawing something that's very translucent to begin with.
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Re: Trust

fschmidt
Administrator
Why do think being subjective conflicts with being concrete?  Everything of real value is subjective.  Those things that are objective and measurable tend to intermediaries to things of real value.  For example, money.  Even the objects that money buys are intermediaries to the satisfactions that those objects bring.  And the satisfactions themselves are totally subjective.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Trust

Drealm
Anything that's withdrawn needs to be plainly obvious. I can see concrete items that are "intermediaries to things of real value" being withdrawn. I don't see any logistical way whatsoever to withdraw things like "satisfactions".

To use the example of shunning. Socializing is the intermediary to friendship. While the real value may be friendship. Shunning doesn't withdraw "friendship", shunning withdraws socializing.
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Re: Trust

fschmidt
Administrator
Well in the CoAlpha case, membership would be the intermediary to trust.  Membership would be withdrawn.  I think withdrawing membership to an group that people value is fairly common punishment.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Trust

Drealm
How would membership be withdrawn? Virtually or otherwise? Non-members can already see 90% of the forum. Or are you imagining some type of external withdrawal? The question here is enforcement.
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Re: Trust

fschmidt
Administrator
Drealm wrote
How would membership be withdrawn? Virtually or otherwise? Non-members can already see 90% of the forum. Or are you imagining some type of external withdrawal? The question here is enforcement.
At this point, we are only a virtual group, so withdrawing membership to the forum is all.  As I said earlier, this whole discussion is pointless if CoAlpha membership doesn't have some value.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Cooperation, Trust, and other related words

fschmidt
Administrator
In reply to this post by fschmidt
In our thread on values, I listed trust/honesty and cooperation, Drealm listed reliability and responsibility, and J. Donner listed honor as some of our key values.  The meanings of words overlap and the point of this post is that these words (values) overlap so much as to be nothing more than different aspects of the same basic idea.  In fact J. Donner listed responsibility and honest as aspects of honor.  So let me go through these words to see how they relate.

trust - This allows for cooperation because one can TRUST that others will be honest, reliable, and responsible.  Trust itself is a value based on honor and loyalty.

honesty - This is a behavior that establishes trust and makes cooperation possible.  It is an aspect of honor and motivated by loyalty.

cooperation - This is the final result of the other words here, particularly of trust.  So trust is the value while cooperation is the action.

reliability  - This is really a part of honesty.  It simple means doing what you say you will do.

responsibility - Reliability is the character attribute and responsibility is the behavior, so these are two sides of the same thing.

honor - This is based on a sense of duty or loyalty, usually to some group.  Those with a shared sense of honor will also share all the other words here.

Why did I go through this exercise?  Because the sum total of what all these words describe is the thing that I feel is most important.  One either has all these things or one has none of them.  I want all of them.

The focus of the men's movement and, to some degree, CoAlpha has been negative, against feminism.  One cannot base positive action on something negative.  One needs a positive goal based on a positive value.  And this is what these words, taken together, offer.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Cooperation, Trust, and other related words

ShaunS
This is yet another hopelessly confused thread from page 5.

The opening argument is quite good but the general theme is lacking.

As a small group what you would have is a 'cult'. This cult would be doing something which in the modern world would need to be profitable. It would require some skill and ability and the members would compete against one another to produce better 'products' or 'performances'. The purpose is not just to sell that activity but in some way to also attract females thus resolving the problems of the group and the reason why people would join the group in the first place.

Membership would confer a license to participate. Participation would result in the generation of funds and the attraction of females. There would be rules relating to the interaction between members which would be on the basis of 'trust' with reference to females and the general practice of the cult in the development of the activities that produce income. So correct and accepted methods and procedures. Breaking these rules would then result in the 'license' being withdrawn from the the member for a time, and the result would be that the member would not be allowed to participate. The failure to participate would then produce a lack of funds and a lack of female interaction. This would then motivate the pursuit of correct behaviour in keeping with the expected norms of the group to allow continued participation, which would lead to 'trust'.

So typically you need to centre the 'cult' around a practical activity that makes money while attracting female fans. Then you need clear rules and clear authorisation, which is only available to compliant members. Now... perhaps an example would be the Guardian Angels (although not ideal).

This would require some clever money making concept that would hinge on some kind of trade secret that competitors could not determine, but again a simple sport like Wrestling would be a typical example. It has trade secrets, the average person cannot participate, the members compete and put on a show to attract both money and fans, and they have a degree of trust amongst themselves - so wrestling is a kind of cult. You would need something similar to this.

The Magic Circle is a club joined by magicians to share their secrets and tricks so they can perform better and earn more money while attracting more fans. So this has a lot in common with Wrestling but look at how different these two jobs are. I think that what is being referred to is a SIG - Special Interest Group and such groups seem to be very common in America.

I think that this also puts a bit of a spin on the notion that this should be some kind of religion. A religion is not really the concept here it's more of a clan or a tribal in-club. It requires an element of the strange much like the Amish Community. They may be seen as nutty, but they do have a very clear theme, they do present a very clear appearance (they are a cult - but a successful one).