Let’s say I loan you a pen. I’m trusting that you will give me back the pen, that you will do your best not to break it, that you will not throw it out a window. Behind this trust or “vulnerability” is some form of calculation on my part that weighs the odds you will break this trust against how much I actually like the pen and am, in some sense, resigned to losing it to you.
It’s a simple example but I think it’s exciting how trust optimization has several angles of attack:
- If I don’t trust you with my pen just yet perhaps I could try out something smaller first. Say, a paperclip.
- The more trustworthy you are, the easier it is for my trust in you to outweigh my reservations about the potential harm of losing the pen.
- The more “pen rich” I am, in fact or, more importantly, in mindset, the less it matters in my calculation how trustworthy you are.
I can expand the number of people I can trust as I expand the perception of my own wealth. With zero need for my counterparty to make the first move.