2009 April 10 Friday
Only 53% Of American Adults Prefer Capitalism Over Socialism

Never mind that capitalism produces the goods and services.

Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

I'd really like to see a break-down by race. Are the growing ethnic groups less supportive of capitalism than whites? My guess is "yes". So support for capitalism will probably decline long term. It is all part of being a libertarian open borders society. More freedom means less freedom. War is peace.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 April 10 01:04 PM  Cultural Wars Western


Comments
Wolf-Dog said at April 10, 2009 1:53 PM:

What is happening is that as robots become more advanced, there will be less work for people. This means that there will be massive unemployment and starvation, unless the upper class support the lower class (which is the majority).

It is true that capitalism and free enterprise deliver the goods and innovation, but when the phenomenon of stratification casts out the majority (lower class), the latter group is unable to receive the goods delivered by capitalism. This is the issue. When the economy was growing, everybody was happy about it, and even the leftist people favored capitalism at that time. Right now the majority is unable to compete and survive in this highly stratified dynamical system.

no said at April 10, 2009 3:05 PM:

I think you are right that at some point in the future robots might do most of the work causing a need for shared rewards. But we are still a long way from that today, and that process isn't the root of socialism, in other countries around the world socialism has been on the march long before robots were invented.
It is only now that countries such as Russia and China have abandoned communism as an economic strategy that they are experiencing massive economic gains compared to other countries, although ofcourse they have their ups and downs too.
imo the main reason the West is loosing 'faith' in capitalism is the media lies, claiming the crisis is a 'failure' of the markets. I am supprised by this poll result though because in Germany recently the pro-market political partys have been predicted to make significent gains, causing confusion in the leftist press. I thought it would be the same in many other countries except France.

Aki_Izayoi said at April 10, 2009 8:16 PM:

Well, I think for most people we can say that capitalism offers at best debt-like returns and equity-like risk. Well, Swedish socialism does offer debt-like returns, but with debt-like risk. For many people, capitalism does not offer a nice risk/reward profile compared to european socialism.

(Of course, I mean to say that "debt-like" means corporate bonds that are AA or AAA, so no one would try to compare debt to junk bonds [which have high beta too relative to the equity markets])

MlR said at April 11, 2009 3:57 PM:

Randall,

How many of the people interviewed during that poll do you think could even define capitalism or socialism? Let alone describe their evolutions, respective economic and political advantages, etc., etc. We're wallowing in ignorance. Apathetic ignorance on the part of the masses, and learned ignorance on the part of the 'educated' classes.

Even those that think they're defending 'capitalism' are increasingly defending a mixed system that consists of socialist leeching off an ever shrinking private sector. Even the 'capitalists' are perfectly happy to loot the treasury and use the system to squeeze out competition.

MlR said at April 11, 2009 4:04 PM:

Witness the nonsense that everyone embraced capitalism during the 1990s. No. They embraced a mixed system where 30+ percent of our incomes went to the government, declared it 'capitalism', and then waited for the inevitable failures. The only surrender on the part of the previous apostles of socialism, though it was grudging for them I must admit, was a rhetorical one. They made a show that they'd surrendered to 'capitalism', and the capitalists, who by and large had forgotten half of what they claimed to have been fighting for, accepted the surrender as a sop to their pride and pretended that they'd won some massive victory that couldn't be taken away at the first sign of a stumble.

It's all one big joke.

Aki_Izayoi said at April 11, 2009 8:09 PM:

I think one should at least listen to "socialists" such as Paul Craig Roberts (of course, he is not socialist, but at least he understands the problems very well). Well, he said that because of free trade (or wage arbitrage), opportunities for advancement in the US have dwindled. One could expect this to increase people's discount parameters which naturally increase crime rates (since people are think less about the long term.) So, if there are diminishing prospects for highly-paid jobs, and the lack of a social safety net, wouldn't that gravitate people towards European socialism? Well, socialism doesn't scare the young anymore since they do not associate it with Russian communism (it might be conflated with "social democracy"), nor do they fear double digit inflation which was the economic issue, now it is deflation. Also, it seems that saying that something bad is "socialism," it seems the Republican Party is merely echoing its sentiments towards it own base.

BTW, how has capitalism (or the previous status quo if you want to argue that is is not "capitalism") increase the standard of living of the average American? If not, then that is one reason for increased discount rates as few people have long-term time horizons.


I expect the same trend in Japan, although I do think that country is more likely to go socialist (or more like European-style social democracy) than the US since they are all Japanese people.

See this

Here is something else:

But how will the Democrats and Obama fail? Of course, it is easy to imagine scenarios where they would fail, but my question is what would be the ideology to replace it.

Initially, I thought it would be right-wing populism that appeals to Pat Buchanan. Buchanan, of course, does not support a welfare state, but he does opposes free trade and immigration which opens up domestic markets to foreign overcapacity. Foreign overcapacity does not benefit labor. I thought supporting protectionism and opposing immigration would be the low-hanging political fruit, but as far as I am concerned, people such as Rush Limbaugh havenít exploited this (yet.)

Also, I thought there would be even more support for the welfare state, and I am surprised that the Republicansí planned budget would have more tax cuts. Since people are afraid to lose their jobs, I thought this would not have as much political appeal when compared to increased social spending.

Furthermore, since most people would be drowned out of the market in a Darwinian flush, they would not be long-term holders of stock or capital. Thus the overlap between the interests of capital and the general population would be less.

Deflation should increase populist sentiment such as increased demand for social welfare programs (left) and anti-immigration policies, (right) and protectionism (neutral), but I do not see it. Perhaps, the US is a plutocracy and such views are not expressed by most politicians because they are not in the interest of the ruling class. Maybe fascism, not social democracy is in the cards for the US.

Vanilla Thunder said at April 11, 2009 9:10 PM:

" I thought supporting protectionism and opposing immigration would be the low-hanging political fruit, but as far as I am concerned, people such as Rush Limbaugh havenít exploited this (yet.)"

I agree.I know Buchanan is getting a little gray, but I've been waiting for a fresh champion of Republican protectionism to emerge. Indeed, until about the post-WW2 era the Republican Party was for the most part unabashedly protectionist.

MlR said at April 12, 2009 11:49 AM:

"BTW, how has capitalism (or the previous status quo if you want to argue that is is not "capitalism") increase the standard of living of the average American? If not, then that is one reason for increased discount rates as few people have long-term time horizons."

Setting aside I was actually arguing against the previous 'status quo' as a fraud - what did the remnants of the free-market system do for the average American?

Well, nothing, if he didn't like nearly everything that he uses or benefits from on a daily basis, that his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, ad infinitum, did not enjoy, and would salivate at the thought of having.

The average American's clueless as to the unprecedented prosperity he enjoys. And so he'll possibly lose it, dragging down future generations in the process.


averros said at April 18, 2009 3:29 PM:

The idea that robots will cause unemployment is totally and utterly silly.

What they do is increasing productivity - which is the same as producing more goods with less human efforts. This means more material goods produced per consumer - and since consumers don't have infinite amounts to spend - this means lower real prices.

There always will be sectors which depend on humans (esp. services) - so the employment will shift from material production to these sectors.

In fact, this was going on for couple hundred years now - with labor released from agriculture moving on to industry, and now moving on from increasingly automated industry to service and information sectors. It didn't bring the total disaster and unemployment like Luddites claimed; quite opposite.

Socialist "shared rewards" are not only a stupid idea - it is extremely dangerous one. It killed hundred million people already, and I'm surprised somebody is still so clueless so as to dig it out of it graveyard and parade it around. "Sharing rewards" is euphemeism for using violence to force people to part with their wealth - and is no different in principle from treatment of kulaks (rich farmers) by Bolsheviks - which then caused hunger which killed more Ukrainians than Nazis killed Jews.

In the voluntary (i.e. capitalist) economy "sharing rewards" happens automatically through lower prices for goods which are produced more effectively. A company trying to capture "rewards" to itself by trying to hold prices high will soon discover that competitors are stealing its market.


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