While Americans are preached that “free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity,” it appears that not everyone is buying it. Whether it is the failure of prosperity to trickle down (and the inequality that has been created) or just the herd-like need to be told what to do (and never take risks), Pew Research finds a stunning 25% of Americans do not believe people are better off in a free market system – implicitly preferring centrally-planned lives. Ironically, belief in the free market tends to be highest in developing countries while in Japan and Spain, a majority prefer to be managed than free.
Belief in the free market tends to be highest in developing countries (median of 71%). Nearly two-thirds or more in all nine of the developing economies surveyed agree that most people benefit from capitalism, including 80% of Bangladeshis, 75% of Ghanaians and 74% of Kenyans.
Advanced economies are somewhat more divided over the free market. At least seven-in-ten in South Korea, Germany and the U.S. say most people are better off under capitalism, but fewer than half in Greece, Japan and Spain agree.
There has been moderate change in support for the free market between 2007 and 2014 among the countries surveyed in both years. The Spanish (-22 percentage points) and Italians (-16) stand out for their declining belief in capitalism over the course of the global recession.
It appears it is time to change America’s subtitle to “the land of the centrally-planned.”