Survey finds little trust in capitalism

January 24, 2020

A survey released on the eve of the World Economic Forum has found that just 18% of people believe capitalism is working for them.

Unsurprisingly, the poll, conducted by public relations firm Edelman, also found that trust in capitalist institutions remains higher among "wealthier, more educated, and frequent consumers of news” than the mass population.

According to the report, "distrust is being driven by a growing sense of inequity and unfairness in the system".

A majority of respondents agreed with the statement: "Capitalism, as it exists today, does more harm than good". Broken down by generation the response was highest amongst 35-54-year-olds (59%), 57% for those aged from 18–34 and 53% for those aged 55 and over.

The highest level of support for the statement was found in Thailand (75%) and the lowest in Japan (35%). In Australia views are split, with 50% agreeing that capitalism today does more harm than good.

The report also reflected the growing level of insecurity faced by workers across the globe, including in the advanced capitalist countries, with 83% of workers saying they “fear losing their job”. Reasons given were “the gig economy, a looming recession, a lack of skills, cheaper foreign competitors, immigrants who will work for less, automation, or jobs being moved to other countries".

India has one of the highest percent of workers worried about losing their job, with 79.4% across all industries.

Seventy-eight percent of people agreed that "elites are getting richer while regular people struggle to pay their bills". In 15 out of 28 countries Edelman surveyed, the majority are pessimistic about their financial future, with most believing they will not be better off in five years' time. In Australia, this represents a two-point drop in optimism since 2019.

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