Letters to the Editor: The sensible reason Americans trust business more than anything else

A shopper checks out at Vons in Torrance in 2020.
A shopper checks out at Vons in Torrance in 2020. A letter writer says most business interactions are simple, everyday exchanges that build trust.
( Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In questioning a recent survey showing that Americans trust business more than any other institutional sector, columnist Nicholas Goldberg cites large corporations that have betrayed their responsibilities.

Goldberg overlooks that Americans work at or interface with companies of all sizes. Trust in business is high because that’s where we earn and learn, try and fail.

We engage with people as colleagues and as customers. We trust people and companies to build our houses, provide our gas, cook our food and so many other things.


Yes, sometimes we are disappointed and outcomes are bad, but generally most business leaders work to earn the trust of their employees and customers every day.

Rather than expecting corporate interest to be aligned with our own all the time, we as employees and consumers need to understand where business leaders are coming from. Then we decide how we’re going to place our trust rather than categorically dismissing their motives.

Laura Curran, Newport Beach


To the editor: Goldberg is sincerely surprised that the public has more trust in business than government. He goes on to cite examples of major industries that have taken advantage of consumers to prove his point that government (which is run by politicians) should receive a higher degree of trust.

However, the industries he cites — oil, pharmaceuticals, tobacco and autos — are some of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. These industries are regulated by individuals appointed and managed by (guess who) politicians.

Regulators often go to work for high salaries in the very industries that they supposedly regulated when their patrons are voted out of office. Politicians could end this revolving door with a stroke of the pen, but they don’t because they also are supported by the industries that they claim to regulate.


More regulation is not the answer. Real, impartial regulation is all that is needed.

Tom Cox, Westchester


To the editor: Goldberg asks why Americans still trust companies to do the right thing, and then lists a number of businesses that clearly did not do the right thing.

Goldberg does not discuss how these companies made the decisions that led to the bad behavior he so laments. These businesses are run by people who make and implement decisions, and then so often justify them when proven later to be detrimental to consumers and even their own workers.

People decide to hide, mislead, distract and distort information, choosing to protect their jobs or share value over doing the right thing.

Maybe if more company leaders demanded ethical behavior from themselves, their managers, their boards and every employee, and took responsibility when things go wrong, the trust would actually be earned.

Les Birken, Northridge