Do we trust companies because there are more of them?

That question popped into my head yesterday.

What I mean by that is if we don’t like a particular company, or if a particular company violates our rights in some fashion, we can take our business elsewhere. If Company A “misuses” our data, either on purpose or by accident, we can take our business to Companies B, C, D and so on. If we think Google has too much of our information, we can use Bing, Yahoo! or even the Yellow Pages. If we always get poor service at Subway, we can go to Jimmy Johns, or vise versa.

There is choice. And we may feel that one choice better meets our needs, better protects our information, than another.

However, there is not the same choice when it comes to government. And we are very untrustworthy of government. When the government makes a mistake, we suffer but we cannot take our business elsewhere. The most we can do is elect new representatives, and hope they adhere to promises of change made during campaigns. No more “business as usual.” When representatives fail to live up to those, we can’t do much except send letters and make phone calls. Sure, their public image may be harmed, but there is a long line of people ready to step into the void and repeat.

So, do we trust companies, then, because there are more of them?

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