Global Perceived Unfairness Will Change the World

By Shlomo Maital

  A BBC-sponsored poll by GlobeScan on ‘perceived economic unfairness’ has just been released. It covered all the major countries, and asked people whether the burden of adjustment to the global crisis has been unfairly placed on the poor. It also asked whether capitalism has ‘fatal flaws’.  Here is a summary of the results. 

* 61 % said the burden had been distributed ‘not at all fairly’ or ‘not very fairly’. Some 34% of Americans said the burden had been distributed ‘not at all fairly’, and a worrisome 66% of Spaniards. This bodes ill for Spain’s efforts to invoke austerity. 

* 24% said capitalism has ‘fatal flaws’ – but only 17% in America, despite the fact that American capitalism was the origin of the global financial crisis. 

* The U.S. has seen a sharp increase in the percentage saying “burdens have been shared unfairly”, from 2008 (52%) to 2012 (64%). 

* Germany is the biggest fan in the world of capitalism – amazing.  Some 74-75% of Germans say capitalism works well and efforts to regulate it will do damage – even though Germany itself has a government that is deeply involved in the economy, and is a key partner in, for example, social-contract wage negotiations nation-wide.

* France, in contrast, is one of the world’s biggest FOES of capitalism, with 41-43% saying capitalism has fatal flaws.   What then is the chance France and Germany will continue to collaborate, within the EU, when their peoples hold such different views??!

 Widespread global protests over social inequality will continue and will change the world.  It may take time — but it will happen.  The poll results show this is true.    Perception is reality.  Unfairness is widely perceived. It’s just a matter of time until this perception ‘bites’.