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Understanding of Russell Hardin’s Theory of "Trust as Encapsulated Interest" in Daily Life

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Russell Hardin proposed his theory of “trust as encapsulated interest”. This theory explains how trust is something we, ourselves as humans, do whenever we feel like something can be beneficial for us. Russell believes that the true instincts for trusting someone are when we believe that trusting somebody can be to one’s benefit.

An example of “trust as encapsulated interest” in our daily live can be the trust students have towards professors and other staff who work at the institution. Most educational institutions promote an environment that is meant to help students strive. All teachers and faculty members always advocate wanting the best for all students in order for them to succeed in life. The message educational institutions convey gives individuals a sense of other people wanting better for the individual’s interest. Knowing that these faculty members act upon the individual’s best interest leads people on to have a sense of trust towards the staff. When professors give lessons students do not question what is being taught, since individuals already have the trust embedded towards the institution.

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Hypothetically speaking, I believe that, if a professor were to hand out notes to class with misleading information, the class would not even notice that the information given to them was incorrect. Students do not have instilled in them to correct professors, seeing as they put their trust into the professor, because they believe that professors know what they are doing so they do not have the instinct to for errors in notes provided by a professor. I think that the theory of “trust as encapsulated interest” helps explain why the transition of the traditional society’s social order to the modern society’s social order has not been such a big fuss.

Other than functionalism giving us an understanding of acceptance happening, because of how society is meant to find equilibrium within new changes by adapting, Hardin’s theory, also, gives another reasoning as to why we have become accepting towards new social norms. The reason being is since humans tend to trust things that are beneficial towards their interests, they see beliefs as a benefit so might as well trust it. I understand why it is possible to perceive beliefs as a benefit. Most religious beliefs have norms within them that constrain an individual from doing certain things. For the most part, these constraints are embedded into religions because of their morals. For example, Christianity believes profanity is a sin. So seeing as profanity is a sin, profanity is viewed as a bad moral. This then typically constraints people, who believe in Christianity, from using profane words. Most religions are meant so people can have a guideline on how to be a better version of themselves. This can be viewed as a benefit to other individuals which will lead them to want to become a part of a certain religious community.

As ‘benefits’ are embedded within each religion, humans normally have the instinct to trust religions because know that all that happens is meant to be for their own benefit in becoming better human beings.

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