|You may not realize it, but you place a lot of trust in strangers every day. When you order dinner for delivery to your home, you trust that the restaurant will make your food and that a driver will bring it to you. You might even pay for your meal with a credit card before it gets to your house, giving the restaurant little rational motivation to follow through with the order. However, they still do, because if you didn’t receive your food after paying for it, you could leave the restaurant a negative review online, which could impact their business.
These social contracts, like the food delivery example, make the world work. Without trust in strangers, it would be impossible to complete any tasks that involve the assistance of outsiders. Of course, a healthy dose of skepticism can be useful – unfortunately, there are charlatans out there who might take advantage of your trust. Overall, though, establishing social contracts with consequences for cheating helps us give our trust to strangers and navigate the world successfully.