The pre Davos wind up is now well underway. Out of the traps today is the annual Edelman Trust Barometer timed nicely to remind executives on the way to World Economic Forum that, oh yeah, its kind of important for our leaders to be trustworthy.
And the news this year is good, or at least less bad, compared to this time last year when we were all still shell shocked from the sudden and self inflicted global financial crisis. The dust has settled and global trust in government and business enjoys something of a rebound. In the US trust in business gained 18 points and US trust in government gained 16 points. BRIC countries tend to enjoy much greater levels of trust in business and government over time. However one disturbing anomaly is Russia where trust in business and government dropped 10 points over 2009.
Good news here also for the tech industry which continues to enjoy the highest industry sectoral rankings and with significant gains since 2007. Banking, unsurprisingly has droped through the floor.
If we follow the logic of the Edelman analysis on the question of who to trust and extrapolate wildly, its possible to arrive at some deeply troubling conclusions which present dire implications for the future humanity. It turns out that industry analysts and subject matter experts are the most trusted voices in society today. And given that tech is the most trusted sector and ZDNet bloggers are generally recognized as industry analysts and subject matter experts, could it be that we are the remaining trustworthy few on the planet? God help us all.
The Edelman annual survey, whilst an obvious PR puff before the Davos jamboree, nevertheless makes for interesting reading in these difficult times of economic and political discontinuity. Edelman continue to push forward with the sustainability agenda and recently added some serious intellectual firepower with the addition of activist and academic Noreena Hertz whom Bono claims provided significant inspiration to the RED campaign. Hertz authored The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and The Death of Democracy and IOU: The Debt Threat and Why We Must Defuse It which was written, as it turns out, with quite some foresight back in 2004. I'm hoping her dabblings in the mysterious arts of PR doesn't dull her campaigning instinct.