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For all of human history we have struggled to keep bad actors at bay. We invented social groups like guilds to preserve a common level of quality among producers and practitioners, and created intricate contractual methods to agree up-front how to handle potential future situations. A large proportion of the world's economy is based on ensuring trust between various parties, everything from security guards to litigators.

Given such huge costs of doing business in a sketchy environment, it's not surprising that increased trust directly correlates with GDP. The fewer fears about being cheated, the greater the likelihood of choosing to invest in others, and increased conspicuous consumption due to less fears of being targeted for shakedown.

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