A short note on Onora O’Neill’s Reith Lectures on Trust

ScanIn her 2002 Reith Lectures, Onora O’Neill finds no convincing evidence to diagnose a crisis of trust in our society today. But she does see massive evidence of a culture of suspicion. And she has her own suspicions. If we are to avoid a real crisis of trust, she suggests, “we need to think less about accountability through micro-management and control, and more about good governance; less about transparency and more about limiting deception” (page 99).

O’Neill also points out that, in the information age, “communication is often between strangers and one-way” (page 84), so we need to find ways of checking who is providing the information and whether they are trustworthy.

Alison Donaldson