Free market built more on trust than on knowledge

My mother, Marianne, 93, enjoys a breakfast as resident in my house. (Photo David Tulis)

My mother, Marianne, 93, enjoys a breakfast as resident in my house. (Photo David Tulis)

This morning at breakfast, my mother, 93, the daughter of a Swiss federal congressman, gazes out my kitchen window and wonders about her house. It is past a green shed and a dogwood tree and is on top of the hill.

For the past few days there has been living in her house a refugee from a landlord-renter dispute. The woman, an artist with a job in retail, parks her car in the front. My mother notices this morning it was not there. And so she asks about the woman.

By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 101.1 FM

She expresses concern about her property and effects in the house. Might this person take her things? “I have many precious and valuable things in there and I’m really concerned about them,” she says.

I say, “Mom, I trust the lady living there. I know her through my work at the radio station. She is a good and honest person.”

She expresses concern about her antiques and says again that she has many precious things.

“Mom, it is unlikely that your guest will walk off with your Persian carpets or your antique paintings from Switzerland with the gold gilded edges.” I give up trying to make her fears seem ridiculous. “It’s not likely that she will rifle through your papers,” I add, lamely.

Faith vs. knowledge

At that point I feel it it is time to change the topic to the general question of trust vs knowledge. “Mom, we don’t know Jill through and through. I don’t know everything about her. And so what we have to do is trust in God’s providence, and trust her, too.

I say we trust each other and we have to trust each other because we don’t know each other. We don’t know all things. Only God knows everything. We simply have to extend that person a favorable view and grace.

She says she understands.

I say the whole free market system is based on trust. No one in the marketplace knows anybody else absolutely. No one knows anybody else 100 percent. Trust is necessary for transactions to happen. Without trust no one would buy or sell or produce anything because he couldn’t trust the other person to take his part.

Local economy needs less trust, perhaps, the national economy because more commerce takes place at a personal level. In national economy you deal with a large entity whose credibility and reputation are enhanced by its size. It’s impersonal, but because of its size and scale you trust it not to injure you. It couldn’t have gotten that famous and big if it stiffed little people, you reason.

In local economy where things are much smaller and people are more proximate, you have to extend trust to your counterparty’s reputation, one about which you can learn details locally. In local economy there’s more personal knowledge than in national economy. Confidence in national economy is nourished by the media and advertising.

But whether dealing with a local shop or a major retailer, the process is the same.

Big promises, poor results

Without trust there is no marketplace. No one can know 100 percent about the other person, nor can he have 100 percent confidence. But with trust, you have the assurance of confidence, and you can act as if you did know 100 percent the party serving you, whether it is a baker, lawyer, and air conditioning repair man, or a vendor for a Thanksgiving or Halloween costume.

The idea of personal trust is easily manifested in the local food market or farmer’s roadside stall. If you buy vegetables from a farmer you know, you’re much more likely to be able to trust that it’s clean and does not contain harmful chemicals if he makes that assertion.

Promises of cleanliness and the status of being GMO-free are more difficult to believe with a national vendor. Whole Foods, for example, was built on a reputation of clean food. But Mike Adams the “health ranger” says that it has outgrown its promises. “Whole Foods Market stores are loaded with unlabeled GMOs, heavy metals, toxic pesticides and even glyphosate herbicide,” he says in an August post and video.

My mother Marianne lives with me while other people use her house on the top of the hill. (Photo David Tulis)

My mother, Marianne, lives with me here while other people use her house nearby on the top of the hill. (Photo David Tulis)

Source: Mike Adams, “The WHOLE TRUTH about Whole Foods: Shocking new mini-documentary excoriates this deceptive, fraudulent corporation for becoming the Monsanto of food retailing,”, Aug. 5, 2016

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