The trust you need for the evil deed

Isn’t “trust” a beautiful and positive attribute of the relationship between humans? We trust our friends. We argue that trust within or between organizations furthers good knowledge management and fosters innovation. Societies where people have lost trust in their neighbors (e.g. after a civil war) are defunct and dreadful places to live in. Trust is the  glue that holds us together beyond the meager guidelines of laws and contracts…

But today, upon reading “The Illicit Arms Trade: A Social Network Analysis(1,178 KB) by David Kinsella, I realized, that trust is even more important, if you are looking for partners to smuggle arms or drugs with or to run any other mafia-style operation – because you cannot rely on laws and contracts to safeguard your interaction and – in most cases – a betrayal would lead to much more severe consequences.

So a lot of these positive concepts (trust, social capital, reciprocity) can be used very well to understand illicit informal networks.

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