While I was writing yesterday's post I was amazed, as I have been often over the last decade or so, by just how much trust our system requires. And how often that trust is abused. We go to the supermarkets, or a restaurant, or wherever, to buy what we need assuming that we will get what we pay for, that what we buy will do what we want and that it will not not harm us. I have noted often in the past couple of years that we purchased a product that looked like what we normally bought only to find that we paid the usual price for significantly less because the manufacturer had reduced the amount in the package. We no longer trust the manufacturers and no longer assume that we will get what we pay for. We read all the labels. The question that popped into my mind is: how long can our economic/political/social system continue without trust? What will happen when a large number of us no longer trust anyone? I have heard a lot of drivel about how we have to be responsible consumers but I have to ask how can we do that when so much is hidden under the surface? We can't, as individuals, test for melamine in our pet's food, or cadmium (or lead) in our child's charm bracelet, or take the wrapper off a package of ground beef to check that the core of it is as fresh as the outside (or whether it has been contaminated by e coli), or test our salad greens for salmonella. Unfortunately, the whole system (from finance/banking to retail to medicine to whatever) is riddled with hidden dangers to both our financial and physical health. And even informed consumers can't be aware of all of those dangers. Therefore we need a legal system that protects consumers foremost.