I've been out and about Oregon with the family the last few weeks, generally enjoying the time with the kids and observing the rural and small town life away from Portland.
I've written previously about noting the practice of selling firewood with a can to deposit the $5 in with no attendant or other security out on the coast. But this month I noted a whole extra dimension added to high trust societies.
Here I noted a farm with orchards, where if the farmer and his family aren't around (when I was there, they happened to be, which was fortunate because I enjoyed a fairly long conversation with them), the posted instructions are to weigh your own produce and fruit, consult the prices listed on the blackboard in the front, make change for yourself as required, and have a great day.
That just blew my mind---this presumes not just high levels of honesty, but also passable levels of overall competence.
What is living in such a society worth?
In general these past couple of weeks I've been impressed by the general level of honesty and functionality of folks in these little towns and rural areas. One guy, recognizing how much a friend of ours must have been bummed out after her husband's boat broke down (requiring a part that is still a few days away), even came by our camp and took the two of them water skiing without any request or prompting. They also showered adoration on my two little blue-eyed redheads, more or less constantly wherever they went, be it a grocery store, restaurant, motel, etc. How can I not love these folks?
Sadly the nice frequently need the less nice to defend their interests.