Covenantal Relationships

“Covenantal relationships – where we develop the grammar and syntax of reciprocity, where we help others and they help us without calculations of relative advantage – are where trust is born, and without them there would be no selves and no contracts. Contracts, social or economic, mediate relationships between strangers. But if we were always and only strangers to one another, we would have no reason to trust one another. The possibility would always exist, and always have to be taken into consideration, that the other will defect when it is in his or her interest to do so. A world systematically bereft of fidelity or loyalty would be one in which neither states nor markets would ever get under way.”

The Dignity of Difference, Chapter 8