Adriana Stan writes that “the future is the trust economy,” and puts recent economic choices into context. Trust is the basis of healthy community life, and the more of it that’s baked into our economic system, the better.

Trust was once an expensive pursuit. Banks were built from luxurious materials in bold architectural forms, with sturdy marble pillars and adornments to provide the most powerful declarations of solidity, tradition and trustworthiness — and to project a sense of enduring history. “You can trust us — look how much money we can spend on our buildings!” …

Likewise, expensive educations from Ivy League schools represented not just a level of intellect or achievement, but an aura of excellence one can derive from investing in a trusted academic institution that came with a built-in reputation. It signified the social status and financial ability to spend more than necessary to be part of an elite group, and, like a stamp of approval, projected specific qualities to potential employers.

And think about the hospitality industry. Historically, hotels found success through standardization — guaranteeing a level of comfort and quality under an umbrella brand or chain, often built on emblems of safety, trust and tradition.

Reputation is now carried by a new system, which takes rather elusive notions of credibility, influence and status and turns them into measurable scores. It’s “digitizing” relationships and social connections, extracting value and insights from our associations and both codifying and commodifying trust — signifying it and selling it.