At the end of today’s GPS on CNN, Fareed Zakaria, posed the following question, “Who do you trust more these days? Government or big business?”
I have more trust for our government, as represented by our elected representatives, to do what’s best for citizens. I have both access to my representatives and can hold them accountable for their actions. (For this to work, though, citizens must vote and not be denied the right to vote.)
Trust requires access between citizens and those who run the institutions. Voters have many ways to access their elected representatives. This is not true for other man-made institutions like big business. Limit personal access, as has happened between the members of the two parties in our Congress, and trust is hard to attain.
Trust also requires accountability from those responsible for operating the institution to those impacted by the actions of the institution. Our elected representatives are directly accountable to their constituents. On the other hand, trust is out of reach when those responsible are primarily accountable to profit and shareholders, where affected citizen’s rights are seldom protected by the business operating plan. Profit can, has, and will, in those cases, subjugate citizens rights. When it does, we must trust our accessible and accountable elected officials to correct the violations of citizen’s rights.
Access and accountability are two sides of the trust coin.