Around the world, distrust of government is on the rise, but the public — particularly the educated elite — believes there should be more regulation of business, according to a new survey.
The Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed 25,000 individuals across the globe, with an over-sample of college-educated households with incomes in the top 20 percent for their age and country, who also follow the news regularly. Over the past year, they found a significant increase in distrust in the government, led by Japan (fallout from Fukushima), Spain (economic collapse) and Brazil (coming down from an inflated year when the country was awarded the Olympics and the World Cup, researchers concluded). By contrast, trust in government actually rose in the United States from 42 to 49 percent over the past year, though it’s still relatively low compared to other industrialized nations.
At the same time, there are also strong feelings about increasing the role of government, though the numbers aren’t as high as those who distrust the government overall. About 40 percent of respondents in the United States believe that the government “does not regulate business enough.” The primary reasons? Globally, respondents were inclined to say that government should “protect consumers from irresponsible business practices” and “regulate business activities to ensure companies are behaving responsibly.”
Another interesting tidbit from the survey: NGOs are the most trusted institution worldwide (trumping government, business, and media), but trust in media is on the rise everywhere, including in the United States, where it rose from 27 percent to 45 percent. That’s largely because “media” was defined as both traditional media, “online multiple sources,” and social media, which saw the biggest rise in trust.