Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Poll: Support for "Free" Market Eroding

by Joel Wendland

A recent poll, whose results are posted at WorldPublicOpinion.org, shows that public support in 10 countries, including the US, China, German, the UK, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Chile, and Turkey, for the so-called free market system has seriously eroded between 2002 and 2007.

Ironically, three-quarters of those surveyed who said they continue to support the "free" market, also said that it works best with strong government regulation, higher than among those who have become more critical of the "free" market.

The results of this survey are huge. My guess is that the shift, which is also potentially ideological in nature, has quite a bit to do with the policies of the Bush administration as much as people seeing the effects of such policies imposed on them and their communities by international financial institutions and right-wing political parties over the past period.

China is likely a more complicated example, however. Your thoughts?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joel's citation of these poll results is valuable and useful, although with polls generally it is important to look at both the ways that the questions are framed and also who is being polled. The overwhelming majority of working class people throughout the world have always opposed the export of jobs from their own countries, export policies which make the cost of food and other necessities higher for them, the elimination of all sorts of protections and subsidies in the name of "free markets, even though certain classes profit from such arrangements in countries and new kinds of consumer goods become available for sections of the population(although not the most of the lower classes and poor)
I would speculate that the supporters of free markets in places like South Korea and Brazil are drawn heavily from the the "middle classes" who have access to these consumer goods but like middle strata in many parts of the world favor "free markets" with significant state regulation because they realize that this process of "globalization" can end up forcing them into the lower classes.
Norman Markowitz