Flash: capitalism more popular in China than the U.S.
Here's a chart depicting the world turned upside-down. The world I was born into, that is, circa 1957.
How to describe Germany, Brazil and China, the nations whose people are most likely to say "the free-market system is the best"?
To start and end with, none of them have "free-market" systems as Stephen Harper, John Boehner, Richard Branson or Donald Trump would understand the term.
They are what was described in our Econ 101 classes as "command economies," where governments make most of the decisions about capital deployment, not private-sector CEOs.
"Free enterprise" in these nations is a concept whose meaning is determined by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry, the infrastructure bureaucrats and so on, at both the national- and subsidiary-government levels.
Germany, Brazil and communist China also have this in common: recent years of strong economic growth. Not so the U.S., where "faith in the free market is at a low," says the Economist. In the most recent survey, last year, just 59% of Americans agreed "strongly" or "somewhat" that the free market is the best system for the world's future, as the Economist puts it. That's down from 80% when the question was first asked in 2002 - a U.S. recession year, as it happens. "And among poorer Americans, under $20,000 [in annual income], faith in capitalism fell from 76% to 44% in just one year."
Why the popularity decline for capitalism in the nation best-known for it?
Speculates Barry Ritholtz of Big Picture, third-most popular economics blogger in the U.S. measured by April uniques:
I wonder if the unbridled embracing of Free Market ideals, taken to excess the past few decades — self-regulation, Efficient Market Hypothesis, radical deregulation, which were eventually followed by the massive financial collapse and subsequent government bailouts of girlie men bankers – might have anything to do with this? [Author's emphasis.]
"Girlie men bankers." Yes, those would be the ones spared liquidation by Uncle Sam and express indignation that (a) they actually needed rescuing; (b) that they weren't to blame for the catastrophic global financial meltdown of 2008-09 and resulting Great Recession that has cost about 11 million Americans their jobs; assert that they had know idea that over-caffeinated traders in their organizations far below their pay grade were jeopardizing their institutions and the global system by loading up on subprimes, derivatives and other toxic waste - which confessed unawareness should have been a firing offense, (d) are still refusing to extend loans to creditworthy individuals and job-creating businesses; and (e) are paying themselves giganto bonuses when the view on Main Street, understandably, is that they should have long ago been fired, since by the bankers' feckless actions that's what's happened to them or people they know.
I believe it was Governor Schwarzenegger who popularized "girlie men" for Democrats in the not-so- Golden-State by the time Arnie moved who wouldn't do his bidding in cutting social services but not raising taxes on the wealthy, in the 1978 birthplace of the Howard Jarvis tax revolt.
We need a gender-neutral term for real culprits in failing to accept responsibility for their economically destructive malevolence, deliberate or unintended. After all, none of the dozen largest U.S. banks requiring a bailout lest every one of America's other 7,000 or so regional and local banks collapse along with them was headed by a woman.