Control is good but trust is cheaper. So say the Danes!

Riding a bus in downtown Copenhagen. One can notice an unusual number of 8 or 9-year-old commuters. In some countries, that is outrageous. What kind of parents would allow their primary school kids to take the bus alone? Is it even safe? Nah in Denmark. Easy peasy. For parents and kids too.
The high level of trust, among society, makes it easy for people to set worries and fears aside. Others can take care of you in case of need or simply keep an eye on you so that you won’t be in any need, in the first place. Is this trust related to the Danes’ high level of happiness? How do they nurture this trust?
A mystery to solve!
Scientists have been searching to find where this high level of trust in Denmark comes from. They are baffled. Is it a cultural thing, that has been passed on from generation to generation? Or is it something that managed to prevail because of the circumstances in the Nordics? Like few wars and relative stability through the decades?

Whatever the case, the thing is that the Danes trust their family and friends deeply. According to OECD, Denmark tops the chart of the countries whose citizens have the highest level of trust. Almost 9 out of 10 claim to do so. Fellow Norway, Finland and Sweden come in next in the ranking.

But the Danes also trust people outside their (admittedly limited) circle. They also trust strangers, their fellow citizens. People whom they don’t know. And this also extends beyond people. Institutions in Denmark are trusted too. Politicians, the government, the police and justice, all enjoy high levels of public acceptance and trust by the citizens. And guess what! Denmark has just been named the Least Corrupt Country in the world (well, along with New Zealand down under).

It is easier and cheaper!
A high level of trust among a society help its citizens feel more safe and secure. It also makes their everyday life easier. Think of that! If you don’t trust people, either on a personal or business level, you need to have security checkpoints. To allocate energy and time to make sure the other side can be trusted to establish a relationship or proceed to a transaction with. See? It’s easier this way. And cheaper. The state or businesses do not have to double check everything as everybody is assumed to be honestopen and transparent. That reduces bureaucracy and speeds things up!

This also results in lower crime rates and a larger sense of safety for everyone. This is why you can leave your laptop on the table in the cafe and go to the toilet, without the fear of it be stolen. Or why 8-year-olds can travel on public transport alone.

It all comes down to trust!