“Ultimate success will require broad and deep collaboration between and among everyone involved. Bernasek asserts that integrity has two components. “Te first could be described as trustworthiness – that someone [everyone] is following the rules, telling the truth, and being careful on the job. The second is trust – believing the seller’s trustworthiness [whatever is being sold or exchanged]. When you have both trustworthiness and trust, you have a relationship of trust and integrity. That relationship – that integrity – is an asset that produces economic value.”
“With all due respect to the integrity of each individual, it is imperative to institutionalize integrity. This is what Bernasek has in mind when affirming her faith in what is possible. “There are good reasons to be optimistic about the future of integrity. The Internet has changed everything. The DNA of integrity – disclosure, norms, and accountability – is fundamentally tied to systems for sharing information. And the cost of collecting, storing, and sharing information has been plummeting. As technology advances, we have the power to create wider and deeper trust across our society. And we can establish trust in places where it never existed before.
“By understanding the true nature of integrity, its DNA, it’s possible to guide the next evolutionary step in a positive direction. To succeed, it is vital to focus on the main goal.” However, as always, there will be barriers of resistance. “There are legions of entrenched interests eager to protect their turf. Each one seeks its own advantage through special pleading and sophisticated public relations, at the expense of the overall system…Applying the DNA of integrity yields a simple, systematic approach to invest in the integrity of our economy and our collective wealth. With it we can create a better, more valuable system that will bring additional wealth and prosperity to every member of our society.”
Bernasek’s use of first-person plural pronouns is intentional. The power of collective integrity is almost unlimited. That is our challenge as a society. That is also our opportunity…and yes, our privilege.