Thursday, April 7, 2011

International Public Opinion on Free Markets

Economist magazine provides the interesting results of a survey on the public's opinion on free marlets. Brazil ranks #1 for responding "strongly agree" that the free-market system is the best, and Germany ranks #1 for "strongly or somewhat agree." Germany, Brazil, China and Italy rank higher than the U.S. overall when responses are combined for "strongly aggree" and "some what agree".

Remarkably, there is no country in the world where 50% or more of residents "strongly agree" that a free market is the best system.

The chart below provides  the full  results:

Click on the chart for a larger view.



  1. Problem is, how do these people perceive and define a "free market"? I bet amongst many of the negative or "somewhat" responses are those which view it as crony capitalism or at any rate interventionist capitalism, which they see as a "battlefield" for private interests which "needs" "regulation". The sort of people who don't apply economic analysis of a comparable sort to the government.

    Turkey's results are, all the same, despicable. As are France's. Why is Turkey's membership to the EU even being considered? Oh wait... that's right. The EU is itself fascist. But imagine being forced into a union with this backwards country? Two Frances? No thanks. Japan and Russia are disappointing too for such developed economies which have benefited from capitalism, but as I said above, it's a matter of perception and given how privatisation occurred in Russia and how the government influences the markets in Japan, I could see why people might be cynical about the market. Rather than asking how people feel about the market economy, I'd ask them how they feel about free, voluntary exchanges between consenting individuals and then tie that into markets.

    Overall, disappointing.

  2. "Somewhat"?

    The Economist's editors must be muddleheaded if they can let that word pass their desks and be used as it is in the survey results. The survey's primary question appears to be just this:

    "Do you believe that a free market system is best?"

    Possible answers:


    As Inquisitor noted, definition of the term free market is critical, but once a nonambiguous defintion is settled upon, there's no logical place whatsoever for mushy responses like "Somewhat" that try to be both yes and no. Either you agree or you don't, and if you don't agree, then either you deny the assertion that free markets are best or you are undecided.

    However, not so disappointing as the weak support for free markets, but still disappointing, is the fact that The Economist is degenerate. But at least EPJ has provided former subscribers of The Economist with the beneficial service of reminding them of the fact.

  3. agreed - the term "free market" is indefinite during the polling. So it is a flawed analysis.
    Also, it means something different to each culture or geography depending on their experience base and level of education.