Around the World, People are Losing Trust in The System

 

The latest Edelman Trust Report finds that people are losing trust in both society's institutions and capitalism itself.  The culprit? Intractable inequality.


Despite strong economic performance, a majority of respondents in every developed market do not believe they will be better off in five years' time.

This means that economic growth no longer appears to drive trust, at least in developed markets - upending the conventional wisdom.

"We are living in a trust paradox," said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman.

"Since we began measuring trust 20 years ago, economic growth has fostered rising trust. This continues in Asia and the Middle East but not in developed markets, where national income inequality is now the more important factor.

The survey was conducted in 28 markets and involved more than 34,000 respondents.

Fifty-six per cent of the surveyed global population said capitalism in its current form does more harm than good in the world.

Most employees (83 percent) globally are worried about job loss due to automation, a looming recession, lack of training, cheaper foreign competition, immigration and the gig economy.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents worry about losing the respect and dignity they once enjoyed in their country.

Nearly two in three feel the pace of technological change is too fast. Australia recorded one of the largest declines of trust in technology.

Inequality, automation and Darwinian markets can have a powerfully corrosive effect on faith in governments and economic institutions. These core factors are also cited as contributing to a broad decline in support for democracy itself.  Identifying the problems is the easy part. Summoning up the vision, courage and will to implement solutions is a Herculean challenge.

This year's Edelman Trust report finds a serious decline in confidence in government, corporate and media leadership.

A majority of respondents believe that government leaders (57 percent), business leaders (56 percent), and journalists (59 percent) are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false. The global infodemic has driven trust in all news sources to record lows with social media (35 percent) and owned media (41 percent) the least trusted; traditional media (53 percent) saw the largest drop in trust at eight points. A December Edelman Trust Barometer Post-U.S. Election Flash Poll found a stunning 39-point gap in trust in media between Biden voters (57 percent) and Trump voters (18 percent); a 15-point drop among Trump supporters since November.

“This is the era of information bankruptcy,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “We’ve been lied to by those in charge, and media sources are seen as politicized and bias. The result is a lack of quality information and increased divisiveness. Fifty-seven percent of Americans find the political and ideological polarization so extreme that they believe the U.S. is in the midst of a cold civil war. The violent storming of the U.S. Capitol last week and the fact that only one-third of people are willing to get a Covid vaccine as soon as possible crystalize the dangers of misinformation.”

...The stark, but radically different realities of escalating stock prices and Great Recession-like unemployment levels have helped trigger a record trust gap of 16 points (informed public at 68 percent, mass population at 52 percent). There are double-digit trust gaps in 25 of 28 markets, versus seven in 21 markets just a decade ago.

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