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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le capitalisme toujours contesté

by Gaël de Santis

Round the World , Opposition to Capitalism Continues

Translated Friday 20 November 2009, by Gene Zbikowski

An opinion poll conducted in 27 countries reveals a rejection of capitalism. 23% of those polled believe we need to change economic systems. In France, the proportion climbs to 43%.

The celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall have not changed public opinion. Capitalism is no longer in favor. According to a poll published yesterday by the BBC World Service, the publicly-funded international broadcaster, just 11% of the 29,033 people polled in 27 countries believe that the capitalist economy works. Worse yet, 23% of those polled think that the free market system is fatally flawed and has to be abandoned.

The French have the most critical attitude: 43% believe we need to switch to a new economic system. They are not alone: 38% of the Mexicans and 35% of the Brazilians hold the same opinion. Capitalism is in the dock even in some East European countries. More than 20% of the Poles believe that there needs to be a change of economic systems, and more than 45% believe it has to be “regulated or reformed.” In just two countries – the United States (25%) and Pakistan (21%) - over a fifth of those polled believe that capitalism is working in its present form.

“It appears that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 might not have been a crushing victory of free market capitalism, contrary to impressions at the time,” commented Doug Miller, the president of the GlobeScan polling institute, which conducted the poll. The attitude to the dismantling of the Soviet Union (USSR) is much more nuanced than the triumphant speeches heard these past few weeks. Only 54% believe that it was a good thing, against 22% who think it was. Thus 63% of the Czechs, 61% of the Russians and 54% of the Ukrainians think the collapse of the USSR is regrettable.

Were the celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall an opportunity to wipe capitalism’s slate clean? “The economic crisis has resulted in a severer and more intense reaction against the market economy than against the communist regimes at the time of their collapse,” complained Dominique Reynié last spring. With his Foundation for Innovative Politics, which is linked to France’s governing conservative UMP party, he was then launching a cycle of conferences on “the memory of communism.” It was intended to be a fire-wall against attacks on capitalism.

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