The Pen

Part of a collection of essays on TRUST by @futurepaul

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:

  1. If I don’t trust you with my pen just yet perhaps I could try out something smaller first. Say, a paperclip.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Posted Oct 1, 2022