Pew: Support for capitalism down in U.S.

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

The economic morass that has plagued much of the country in recent years has not only hit many a wallet but also knocked support for capitalism, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The study, which gauged economic sentiment globally, found fewer Americans, 67 percent, believe people are better off under in a free market economy even though some people are rich and some are poor. In 2007, the start of the recession, 70 percent believed people were better off under capitalism.

Pew called “faith in capitalism” another victim of the “great recession.” In fact, more support for capitalism was found among Brazilians, Chinese and Germans than among Americans, the study found.

Pew said people who are suffering are less likely than those who aren’t to think people are better off under capitalism. Men are also more likely than women to think people are better off in a free market economy.

Pew surveyed 26,000 people in 21 countries between March and April. It’s overall conclusion: The economic mood is exceedingly glum all around the world.

Pew said less than a third of Americans (31 percent) say the U.S. economy is doing well, which is up 13 percentage points from 2011, but down 19 points from 2007.

Has capitalism seen its best days, or is the best yet to come?

96 comments Add your comment


July 13th, 2012
12:31 pm

Capitalism is the best system in the world.

The Obama Administration would like our county to be much more socialistic than it is, and it is my opinion that we have way to many entitlements as it is.

The Carnivore

July 13th, 2012
12:37 pm

Without capitalism, this country would collapse overnight. The 33% who are not in support are the ones sitting on the sidelines hoping the government redistributes wealth to them.


July 13th, 2012
12:38 pm

Capitalism is great, when it’s a company trying to sell a product or service. When it is Wall Street or big oil bilking EVERY consumer, then not so much….


July 13th, 2012
12:40 pm

From Britannica online:
socialism, social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. According to the socialist view, individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another. Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members.

I hardly see the Obama administration advocating for nationalization of our means of production. Regulation does not equate to ownership.


July 13th, 2012
12:41 pm

If we were living in a truly “free market,” then your eight-year-old daughter wouldn’t need a permit to open up a lemonade stand in your neighborhood. You wouldn’t need a state-issued license to cut hair or put hot towels on people’s faces.

The problem isn’t capitalism or free markets, it’s the distortions created by intrusive government regulations that discourage competition, creative destruction and innovation.

Danny O

July 13th, 2012
12:42 pm

Capitalism is fine. But corporate oligarchy, which we live under, definitely has some drawbacks.

Get Real

July 13th, 2012
12:43 pm

This is scary and is clearly a reflection of the growing number of people that feel the government should support them “cradle to grave” or “womb to tomb”, if you prefer. As we are seeing in Europe, especially Greece, entitlements are like a narcotic, the withdrawal symptoms are quite painful. It is best not to get hooked to begin with…


July 13th, 2012
12:45 pm

An overall capitalist system with social safety nets (socialsm) built in is the best system. How else do you want to do it? A total capitalist system would create urban and rural blight to rival third world courtries. A total socialist system inevitably leads to graft and nepotism in the government. Sorry, but history tells us so. Nothing is perfect. A bit of both is as good as you are going to get.


July 13th, 2012
12:49 pm

I guess Obama’s effort to “Fundamentally Transform America” is well under way with this finding. He keeps preaching “Fair Share” when almost 50% of the citizens in this country pay no Federal Income taxes and 40% of those get checks written to them from the 50% that actually pay taxes.

Obama’s motto “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” – Obama’s vision of America…..

Danny O

July 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

@ Tripper:

I don’t like unsanitary grooming equipment or head lice. Therefore, I want cosmetologists to be licensed.

Free markets are awesome, but they don’t always respond to every problem and sometimes can create problems, like outbreaks or pollution. That is why it makes sense for an entity that is charged with looking out for the common good (our government) to ensure that agents within the free market act responsibly.

Tap Out

July 13th, 2012
12:54 pm

We don’t practice true capitalism…our system is heavily tilted toward the wealthy. Corporate welfare, huge subsidies, and unfair tax breaks create a system which bears little resemblance to true capitalism.

just me

July 13th, 2012
12:55 pm

I agree with CP. Capitalism is fine, but there need to be more regulations put in place. Capitalism should not include being able to abuse or take advantage of people.


July 13th, 2012
12:58 pm

We do not have free market capitalism. We have corporatism/fascism. While we were fighting German and Italian Fascism in europe during the 40’s we were actively embracing the american version at home and the progress has been steady ever since. Both parties actively support this corporatism. For Democrats their support goes to “green energy” companies, union shops, and other ventures that will endear them with their base and shovel money into the pockets of their friends. For Republicans their support goes to the military industrial complex, firms that have benefitted from so-called privatization (really just the transfer of the government monopoly to private hands), or other ventures that will endear them with their base and shovel money to their friends.

True Free Market capitalism does not include a central bank that manipulates the price of everything by manipulating the price and value of money. It does not include a government that regulates every action of every person in the country 24/7/365. It does not include a government that siezes businesses and rewrites contracts in favor of labor unions over bondholders, etc. It does not include a government that restricts access to competitors through massive regulation, taxation, subsidies, etc. In other words, a truly Free Market would look nothing like the economic situation we have today.

This is just another typical ignorant poll done by a liberal group to bash a system of economics they know NOTHING about. It certainly doesn’t help anyone’s case in favor of capitalism when the republican party so actively promotes fascism/corporatism and further confuses the electorate by incorrectly calling it capitalism. Oh well, they are a party without principles, just like the democrats, so what do you expect.

Dekalb comments

July 13th, 2012
1:01 pm

The Carnivore @ 12:37

Please provide the data that supports your claim. Don’t offer opinion as fact. If it is your opinion or belief then state it as such.

Unbridled capitalism where nothing, absolutely nothing stands in the way of profiteering is as bad as centrally-planned economies.

Capitalism works very well when profiteering is subject to reasonable regulation to protect capitalists from themselves.


July 13th, 2012
1:04 pm

If Obama is socialist, then why is my 401K up 16.93% annual ROR since Dec 31, 2008?

Assuming he’s a socialist, the he’s not very good at it.

Anyone who touts “only 50″% of the people pay federal taxes” ignores the reality of sales, excise, state, employment taxes.

Mitt Romney enjoys deferred compensation from Bain Capital taxed at 15%. Plus he gave $100M IRA to his sons with zero tax liability.

Rodney King (RIP)

July 13th, 2012
1:07 pm

Can’t we all just get along? The political atmosphere is so toxic to progress we may never truly recover.

Capt Jack

July 13th, 2012
1:11 pm

Those that think they would be better off under another system have probably never lived under another system.


July 13th, 2012
1:13 pm

From a small business owners view, I see an economy that lacks money. I feel we have shifted to a more Socialistic system of Entitlement programs that are supporting the lower income brackets. Currency transactions are now taking a backseat to electronic paper transactions and this is shifting the old cash transactions to the ancient way of doing business. Cash transactions do not include fees whereas credit, debit and other transactions are pinching the bottom line by feeing us to death. I see a collapse of the dollar in the years or even days ahead.


July 13th, 2012
1:18 pm

Rodney King (RIP) – And just what exactly does “progress” look like???

Frankly I am pleased with a congress that cannot get anything done since they are not working towards making things better, only worse. I mean if they were working to bring the troops home and slash military spending, slashing the size and scope of government, actually supporting and living up to the limits imposed by the constitution, rolling back the totalitarian police state that is destroying our freedoms, etc. I would also be upset that obstructionists were getting in the way. What is really going on is that the republicans are trying to increase the warfare/police state while the democrats are working to increase the welfare state. Hooray for obstructionism that impedes all of their efforts.

Fred ™

July 13th, 2012
1:21 pm

Was is sad is the comments from the delusional fanatical Republicans who don’t realize that we don’t operate under a free market true capitalist system as it is now.

Bless their hearts.


July 13th, 2012
1:24 pm

We have corrupt politicians, crooked businessmen, slimy lawyers, jackpot justice courts, greedy bankers, and racketeers on Wall street all working together to separate you from your money They do not represent capitalism. I am a Capitalist, an entrepreneur with a small business with 2 employees providing a service for a modest income trying to avoid being sucked dry by the aforementioned sharks.
Vote against all incumbents, no exceptions. Vote for independents if one is running.


July 13th, 2012
1:26 pm

The parasites that would move us from a system where people are rewarded for their efforts to the socialist model that Obama is trying to impose MUST be destroyed. Like Washington, Jefferson, and the rest of our founding fathers I will die before I give up my freedoms. How many of you will stand with us as we take our country back – no matter the cost?

Lousy Squirt

July 13th, 2012
1:27 pm

There’s a subtle word missing.

UNREGULATED capitalism is another word for suicide. It is a recipe for disaster because it creates a classed society, which eventually dies of its own weight. Look at the US over the last 12 years, where the lack of regulation nearly crashed the economy. (Thanks to George Bush and his cronies)

REGULATED capitalism – or capitalism with rules – is fine. That’s what we had up until the late 1990s or 2000. It worked well.

Unbridled, uncontrolled capitalism is death.


July 13th, 2012
1:28 pm

Socialism is the refuge of the slacker that doesn’t want to work for a living…desiring his “Mommy” (the taxpayer) to give him a free ride through life. If you’re lazy, an unambious underachiever…or yeah, you DEFINITELY vote for Obama and the Democrats. Sadly, the progressives have virtually killed liberty and enterprise in this country. All their regulations forced subprime loans on the home lending culture—and then when their social engineering scheme established by government interference in market principals; blew up in our faces….like good little bitter jackboot liberals; they blamed “capitalism”. Well, THAT wasn’t capitalism—the regulations which caused the mortgage mess was much more akin to fascism; which actually is a form of socialism. Kick out the progressives, and bring prosperous liberty back!!! Or else our children will become serfs…


July 13th, 2012
1:31 pm

Mr. Liberty, It’s nice to have someone else who is not a moron on here not trying to repeat what they heard on Neal Boortz ( who I like) or Bill Mahr (who I also like). Thanks for the post sir. Sadly most people on here wont get it. They will call people haters, ignorant, rednecks, racists, neocons and communists. Good job dude.

Fred Johnson

July 13th, 2012
1:32 pm

Capitalism is what made America GREAT! We went from nothing, to the greatest country, the wealthiest country in the world, in FAR less time than ANY other country in history because of capitalism!
It’s when LIBERALISM started seeping into the system, when liberals started trying to control everything, it’s when the socialist dimocrats started trying to “prove” their system is better, THAT is when the problems started. The stupid liberals have been in charge of this country for about the last 70+ years. They’ve gotten just about everything they ever wanted, piece by piece, by protesting, demanding bla bla bla…. And THIS is what we ended up with!
The government “schools” are out there teaching how great communism is! Except it’s failed everywhere it’s ever been tried! Go to just about any college and they’re pushing their communism, marxism and socialism like it’s the fix all do all end all!
obama the destroyer got just about EVERYTHING the he and the dimocrats ever wanted in his first two years, TOTAL control. The “honymoon”, remember that? The president gets what ever he wants? The “first black president”, nobody is gonna tell him “no!” because that would be racist!! So he got just about everything he and the dimocrats ever wanted. So, where’s the great economy?? It’s ONLY GOTTEN WORSE under them and their TOTAL control!!
No wonder people have lost faith in it. The idiot liberals have taken over, with their socialist programs, then when it fails, they blame “capitalism!!” for it. That’s like burning your house down because you played with matches, then blaming the guy that built your house!
The press and the dimocrats have been hammering “capitalism” every change they get. Blaming THEIR failures on it, every chance they can. No wonder people are losing faith in it.
This is why we have GOT to take back the schools, and take back the radical liberal press, if we want to save America. If we don’t, it’s over folks, the liberals have been in charge for far too long and have nearly destroyed it all.
They elected a socialist, marxist president, and look what we got. Where’s the good? NOWHERE! We’re dying, he’s made it ten times worse than Bush ever did! There’s your PROOF right there! they got it, they got what they wanted, and it blew up!

Lying with Statistics

July 13th, 2012
1:34 pm

Christopher Seward’s story “Pew: Support for capitalism down in U.S.” is an outstanding example of irresponsible reporting designed to grab headlines and further divide our nation along social-economic lines. The main premise of the article is the percentage of people that favor capitalism has dropped from 70% in 2007 to 67% in 2012 – a 3% drop – which is within the study’s margin of error of 3.5%+/-. As such a careful review and analysis of the Pew’s study does not remotely support the conclusions Mr. Seward reports. Moreover, a careful read of the Pew article suggests that it was never intended to support the types of claims Mr. Seward advances since the Pew only interviewed 1,011 U.S. residents out of the last reported population of 313,938,601. It’s a sad state of affairs when this is the caliber of reporting that the AJC has to offer.

Devil's Advocate

July 13th, 2012
1:38 pm

I’m on Team Mr Liberty as well. Good points. In 2008 I voted across the board for a mix of political affiliations. I think I’m going to do the same in 2012 and future elections while making necessary corrections for any offices up for grabs in the off even years.

A D president and R congress or an R president and D congress is in order for the next several elections until the current crop of veteran politicians are cycled out.


July 13th, 2012
1:40 pm

only a fool makes the same mistake twice! And only a fool would vote for Obama or a liberal

Tyrone from East Point

July 13th, 2012
1:44 pm

Many of the people posting here are clueless.

Currently between 47- 49 percent of American do NOT pay any income taxes. Obviously, this group has little incentive to support capitalism. They merely want a check from the government to continue sitting on their can.

Christopher Seward

July 13th, 2012
1:47 pm

Not my intention to divide the nation.

I think

July 13th, 2012
1:52 pm

capitalizing all words is good for a country. I also thought a “Watergate” would be good for Houston to stop some of the flooding.

Me Too!

July 13th, 2012
1:52 pm

Fred Johnson

July 13th, 2012
1:32 pm

I totally agree with you!


July 13th, 2012
1:53 pm

Americans have somehow confused capitalism with “democracy.” There is nothing democratic about capitalism. It’s main goal is to make the most profit possible while keeping costs to a minimum. That’s the reason the history of American capitalism records abuse of workers (including children) who worked for practically nothing because there was no one to look after their interests. Those who expressed concern about the market-place workers were discredited by capitalists who referred to the pro-worker advocates as Communists . We ended up having to have unions because of the excesses to earn unlimited profits by the wealthy. In Ameriuca, union workers account for only about 13% of the total workforce in this country, down from the 35% it was during the Great Depression.. What has mattered most of all were the interests of the industrialists and their friends on Wall Street. We know a few things for sure. This country’s middle class has dramatically dwindled. For more than a decade, the Bush tax cuts (which were touted as necessary to allow the “job-makers” to create more jobs) have not resulted in more jobs. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have unemployment at the levels it is now. We also know that those on Wall Street who created the great economic meltdown beginning in 2006 and culminating in a “mini stock market crash” at the beginning of 2008 were rewarded for their excesses and greed by being bailed out and given bonuses for what they did. Amazingly, no one ever went to jail for the abuses and reguklatory violations thgese profiteers engaged in. We also know that “the haves” continue to get more, while the “the have nots” continue to fall behind. If you would have asked those in the middle class if they think capitalism has worked for them, they would have said, “Absolutely.”….before they became part fo the group who lost their homes, their pensions, their health care, and their prospects for a well-earned life in retirement. Ask them now and see what they tell you.

The real danger ahead is what will Americans who played by all the rules and now find themselves homeless, living in shelters and having to rely on private donors for their meals and meals for their children do in the future as result of theiur losses? American capitalism is not democratic, and if the numbers of those formerly in the middle class (who are now ranked in the class of the poor) continue to grow, the rich and the greedy better find a place to hide….as should the politicians who have catered to them. It could get very, very nasty.


July 13th, 2012
1:55 pm

Nothing wrong with true free market capitalism. Unfortunately, what we now have in this Country is cronyism and fascism..until we see a perp walk for the corruption in the banking, finance and political sectors..this Country is in a death spiral.


July 13th, 2012
1:59 pm

The liberal left wing public education system is teaching kids to be lazy mediocre low achievers that think the labors of hard working achievers should be shared with them.

Strong capitalism is what gave the United States the highest average standard of living in the world. The new generation would rather give that all up just to have their basic needs met and watch Reality TV while not having to put in much of an effort.

I think

July 13th, 2012
1:59 pm

we (white males) have nobody, I mean nobody, to blame, but ourselves. For one, we did not learn a damn thing about slavery’s repercussions in slavery v1. So what did we do, slavery v2. Now we have lost the numbers and in 2040 we will be a minority. Thank God, I will be near the end.

Joseph Stalin

July 13th, 2012
2:00 pm

HELP ME, MAMA I have brainwashed you well. Of course you were easy.


July 13th, 2012
2:01 pm

We don’t have true capitalism in America. We have Corporate Communism! And Fred Johnson at 1:32 pm, it wasn’t capitalism that made us great. It was an adherence to democratic principles that made us great. India has unbridled capital;ism and free market economy, but can hardly tout that it’s successful.

Turtle Man

July 13th, 2012
2:01 pm

Good one! Let’s elect another George W. Bush into office and that will solve all of our problems. Not voting for either.

Painful Truth

July 13th, 2012
2:02 pm

What the US has is not “free market” capitalism. What we have is a rigged market and it’s rigged to ensure the top 1% of business can control the market and small/medium business is at their mercy.

In a Free Market GM and the lenders who recieved bailouts would of failed, then smaller business would of grown to take their place. Economic growth would of occured. Both Bush and Obama plus both Parties made sure this didn’t happen.

Both the Dems and GOP are playing this country like a fiddle.


July 13th, 2012
2:05 pm

Joseph Stalin. tell me what I said that is incorrect. What facts do you possess that indicate what I said was incorrect? What’s happened to America’s middle-class? YOU’VE been brainwashed, Joey Boy !!!

stranger in a strange land

July 13th, 2012
2:08 pm

Uncle Joe Stalin – how true. Borrowing from another of my ‘favorite philosophers’- Chairman Mao – that whole Great Leap Forward thing worked out swell too. Maybe a few million have to die in the process – but still – capitalism is evil. You said it Joe:2 or 3 dead is a tragedy, 2 or 3 million is a statistic.


July 13th, 2012
2:10 pm

Free markets are theoretical and don’t exist at a macro level.

Jim Bob

July 13th, 2012
2:14 pm

There is no such thing as a free market. The sooner you come to this realization, the sooner you will realize that the U.S. government is owned by two political-economic, money laundering monopolies calling themselves the Democrat and Republican parties.


July 13th, 2012
2:15 pm

As one who voted for Obama round one, I’ve had to do some serious soul searching this round. I’ve asked what has he really done for most of us in the financial “middle”…I have yet to come up with an answer.


July 13th, 2012
2:19 pm


AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!! I have so much respect for those who speak the TRUTH!!!

Jim Bob

July 13th, 2012
2:21 pm

As a member of the middle class, I’ve never felt so angry myself. The curtain’s been ripped away piece by piece and we can’t deny anymore who’s been pulling all the strings behind it: the wealthy, their lobbies, and their media. We can’t trust anyone anymore to stick up for us; our own government seems owned and complicit, enabling the rich to siphon off more money than ever as a percentage of GDP to stuff in their already bloated pockets.
The media lies to us, using obvious brainwashing techniques with word associations. Meet the new double-speak, the oxymoron they feed us, believing that if they repeat a lie three times it turns true:

clean coal (coal is a lot of things, but clean isn’t one of them)

wealthy job creators (lots of wealthy people don’t create jobs, they destroy them; and lots of their money is spent overseas creating jobs for other countries or buying fancy imported luxury items for themselves)

job killing tax cuts (actually, if we raise taxes on people who can afford it, we can keep more police, teachers, and firefighters on the payroll)

military defense (when it’s obviously being used for offense)

See how many you can spot the next time you watch the news on your favorite news station. The trouble is, a lot of people DON’T spot them, they just swallow it right down without ever bothering to check the ingredients, like they do their hamburger and fries from a greasy fast food restaurant.

And don’t get me started on the Koch brothers funding the T party. They saw the anger brewing, and then they misdirected it. It’s almost like a cartoon with an angry mob carrying pitch forks shouting, “Which way did they go?” and the brothers point the other direction and say, “They went that a way. See that public employee getting all the good perks and pensions? That’s YOUR tax money!” Then laugh as the gullible crowd surges furiously in the wrong direction.

The corporations and the media have overseen the dumbing down of America and the schools contribute by not encouraging critical thinking. The general population spends too much watching inane television, being lulled into thinking that celebrity and wealth are to be admired above all and that material goods can buy happiness. It is high time people put aside the dream and wake up to the realities of life, get down to living sensibly and taking responsibility. Happiness is not all about wealth, fame and having a lot of stuff. It comes from personal relationships and by contributing, in our own way, to making the world a better place. It can be hoped that before it is too late, people will finally realize how they have been hoodwinked by Wall Street, the corporations and the politicians who are owned by big business.

Good Grief

July 13th, 2012
2:27 pm

Many of the 50% that don’t pay income taxes are working people, including young military soldiers fighting for their country. Are they freeloaders too? I think we need to stop putting people into categories without knowing all of the facts.


July 13th, 2012
2:38 pm

@Jim Bob

Totally on point. The “U.S.” is slowly approaching critical mass for a civil war/revolution. People are fooling themselves if they think otherwise. Sad, but true. People’s WILLFULL stupidity will be the death of them (literally). But they look at the people who try be be honest and level-headed when dealing with the issues as crackpots, and let’s be honest oftentimes just labeled a “lib”- because you dare question ANYTHING without simply walking in lockstep on a particular issue.