I think this article by Phil Hoskins best addresses the issue:
Merchants cannot be trusted to deliver what they promise, employers cannot be trusted to pay on promised retirement plans, even spouses cannot be trusted to keep their vows. We live in a buyer beware culture where every person is on their own to make it through a jungle of real and perceived threats and attacks.The Murdoch media has lost the public trust just as surely as the Bush White House has done. The road to redemption, should either choose to pursue it (and there are no signs yet), will not be easy.
One cannot shop in a mall without fear of some idiot seeking fame with a rifle, cannot book a flight on an airplane without fearing being bumped because the flight was oversold. You cannot drive on the freeway without concern that the idiot racing to take your space will not pull a gun to prove his point, cannot give a toy to a child without fear of lead poisoning, cannot trust a politician on anything.
Trust is dead.
The followers of Milton Friedman would have us believe we can trust in the “market” to right all wrongs, despite the complete failure in each and every instance where this philosophy has been tried. Karl Marx would have had us trust in the communal conscience to deliver the ultimate good, but again, each and every instance in which it has been tried has failed.
Trust cannot be imposed, it cannot be brought into existence by faith, it is by its very nature a product of free and open communication and human interaction. Trust is not a lofty goal of perfection and honesty. Trust is the acceptance of what is with the backing of experience that what was foretells what will be. But it does require facing what is without blinders, being responsible to look beyond the bright and shiny promises and putting in the effort to know other people for who they are.
Trust requires that we stop calling each other names as a substitute for discourse and problem solving.
There is so much of our culture that shoves us away from those requirements toward a world of fast paced isolation and fantasy. There is no institution or force on the horizon to pull us in the other direction, for all have become part of the vortex of insincerity and pretense.
If trust is to be restored it is up to you and I to step away from the distractions to see who is around us, to take the time to smile and say hello, to learn to honor our word as the definition of who we are and what we do. Trust is dead, but isn’t this the season that reminds us that miracles are possible?