THIS YEAR'S THEME
Rebuilding Trust in the Fragmented Society
The world is currently experiencing a complex crisis due to climate change, an ongoing pandemic, inequality, and war. There has never been a more urgent need for the wisdom of cooperation and mutually beneficial cooperation based on trust. Unfortunately, the reality does not give one hope. The 'carbon neutrality' barely agreed upon amid the pandemic and climate crisis is in danger of retreat due to the energy shortage caused by war. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of international cooperation based on trust, but powerful countries are moving towards nationalism and protectionism.
Trust in the institutions and norms that form the foundation of society, such as political parties, governments, the judiciary, and the media in each country, is eroding. The most significant factor is the elite's forgetfulness of their social responsibilities and the subsequent exposure of their corruption and hypocrisy. In addition, the public trust that supports democracy is eroding due to the contradictory words and actions of politicians, senior officials using information and human networks for personal gain, and the loss of independence of the media including the media’s writing of biased articles.
Social media, which has emerged as a substitute for traditional institutions and institutional trust, shows both possibilities and limitations. For example, the savagery of the Ukrainian war was revealed in photos posted on social media by civilians on the battlefield, not in traditional media. False and manipulated information surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic was also filtered through smartphones held in the hands of citizens. However, social media, characterized by hyperconnectivity, is creating another division and isolation. Online, individuals do not tolerate other ideas and easily demonize others. Although access is free, encounters become difficult, and individuals complain of loneliness, alienation, and the pain of isolation.
Trust enriches human life. When trust is firmly built, the scope of collaboration and creation is expanded upon, and new opportunities are opened up. The current level of trust must be extended to protect democracy, which is threatened by inequality and polarization. Trust is built when we act consistently with honesty. Trust is strengthened when we build familiarity by acknowledging our differences and understanding each other.