Middle East Finance Bloomberg/ Getty Images

De wortels van het wantrouwen in het Midden-Oosten

DURHAM – Het wantrouwen waarmee samenlevingen in het Midden-Oosten doordesemd zijn is moeilijk te missen. Zoals blijkt uit gecontroleerde experimenten hebben Arabieren aanzienlijk minder vertrouwen in vreemdelingen, of ze nu van buitenlandse of van binnenlandse herkomst zijn, dan bijvoorbeeld Europeanen. Dit hindert de vooruitgang op vele fronten, van de ontwikkeling van het bedrijfsleven tot staatshervormingen.

Samenlevingen met een laag vertrouwen nemen onevenredig veel minder vaak deel aan internationale handel en trekken minder investeringen aan. En volgens de World Values Survey en gerelateerd onderzoek is het vertrouwen tussen individuen in het Midden-Oosten zó laag dat handelstransacties zich beperken tot mensen die elkaar persoonlijk of via wederzijdse kennissen kennen. Vanwege hun gebrek aan vertrouwen laten Arabieren vaak potentieel lucratieve mogelijkheden op winst via de handel lopen.

In hun omgang met publieke instellingen hebben Arabieren eveneens de neiging op zoek te gaan naar de bemiddeling van een individu waarmee ze een of andere persoonlijke band hebben. Dat leidt ertoe dat mensen er onrealistische ideeën op na houden over wat ze van zulke instellingen kunnen verwachten. Dat ondermijnt hun effectiviteit.

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