Most people now believe capitalism does more harm than good, poll finds

Most respondents to a major survey say they believe capitalism does more harm than good, with a majority worried about job loss and financial insecurity.

24 Jan 2020| News

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, which polled 34,000 people globally, found that increases in the employment rate and the strength of the global economy has done nothing to assuage the fears of workers in developed countries.

More than half – 56% – of respondents said they believe capitalism in its current form is more harmful than beneficial, and none of four major societal institutions (government, business, media and non-governmental organisations) are considered to be both ethical and competent.

Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, explained that “national income inequality is now the more important factor” in developed economies.

”Fears are stifling hope, and long-held assumptions about hard work leading to upward mobility are now invalid,” he said.

Indeed, the majority of respondents in every developed economy said they did not think they would be better off in five years’ time, 83% of global employees are concerned about losing their job due to automation, the economy falling back into recession, the rise of the gig economy, globalisation, immigration and a lack of available training.

Rising awareness of inequality is also leading to concerns about the place of workers in their countries, with 57% worried about losing respect and dignity, and almost two-thirds complaining that the rate of technological change is too fast.

As a result of these shifts, workers are increasingly looking to their employers to up their game, with 92% of workers saying CEOs should speak out on issues like retraining, income inequality and ensuring that technological advancements are implemented ethically. Three-quarters of the population want to see employers take the initiative to enact moral change rather than waiting on the State to force their hand.

”It can no longer be business as usual, with an exclusive focus on shareholder returns,” Edelman said.

The results of the survey reveal that workers particularly want businesses to take the initiative on paying fair wages and offering training and development, while they want the government to take action on income inequality overall.