Recently I was reading the book, The Social Animal, by David Brooks.
It's a fascinating read. He refers to study after psychological study, in an attempt to explain our behavior as individuals. And also society as a whole. It's a fabulous read.
One reference he makes is to the book, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, by Edward C. Banfield.
Summarizing Banfield, Brooks notes that in Southern Italy, very few people trust anyone outside of their immediate family, or kin. As a result, the businesses in that area, are all, as a result, very small. By contrast, Germany and Japan are safe societies where there is a lot of inherent trust. Accordingly, large corporations can and do thrive in Germany and Japan.
This concept really struck me: to see our lives in terms of trust. I began to think in terms on many levels.
I thought of a long list of people and entities, of who and what I felt I could, and could not, trust.