Trust: The Social Virtue and the Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama was first published in 1995. In this work, Fukuyama argues that societies can be classified along a spectrum from high-trust to low-trust societies. In high-trust societies, people are generally willing to give others the benefit of the doubt, trusting and engaging in business relationships with strangers, a social habit that is the foundation of modern capitalism and large-scale business dealings. He cites Japan, Germany, and the United States as examples of high-trust societies and Italy and China as examples of low-trust societies.
For global real estate, this would imply that best practices vary depending on where societies fall on the trust scale. Although Fukuyama obvious sees the high-trust model as superior, someone engaging in global business needs to adopt the practices that work within local cultural environments. Thus while people in the real estate business in the United States can rely on large scale marketing and the strength of powerful institutions, such as the banking sector, dealing with clients from other nations or real estate transactions in other nations may rely far more heavily on building up networks of contacts and dealing through intermediaries trusted by potential clients. Rather than, for example, having a western sales team deal with Chinese or African clients, it might make more sense to develop partnerships with firms with strong local roots and family or tribal connections.