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Capitalism seen doing more harm than good: Global survey

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LONDON: A majority of people around the world believe capitalism in its current form is doing more harm than good, a survey found ahead of this week's Davos meeting of business and political leaders.

This year was the first time the Edelman Trust Barometer, which for two decades has polled tens of thousands of people on their trust in core institutions, sought to understand how capitalism itself was viewed.

The study's authors said that earlier surveys showing a rising sense of inequality prompted them to ask whether citizens were now starting to have more fundamental doubts about the capitalist-based democracies of the West.

"The answer is yes," said Mr David Bersoff, lead researcher on the study produced by the US communications company Edelman.

"People are questioning at that level whether what we have today, and the world we live in today, is optimised for their having a good future."

The poll contacted over 34,000 people in 28 countries, from Western liberal democracies like the US and France to those based on a different model such as China and Russia, with 56 per cent agreeing that "capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world".

On a national level, lack of trust in capitalism was highest in Thailand and India on 75 per cent and 74 per cent respectively, with France close behind on 69 per cent. Majorities prevailed in other Asian, European, Gulf, African and Latin American states.

Only in Australia, Canada, the US, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan did majorities disagree with the assertion that capitalism currently did more harm than good.

The survey confirmed a by-now familiar set of concerns ranging from worries about the pace of technological progress and job insecurity, to distrust of the media and a sense that national governments were not up to the challenges of the day. - REUTERS