Report: Majority Of Singaporeans Feel Capitalism Does More Harm Than Good

Worries about income inequality, jobs losses due to automation, and climate change are all feeding a growing worldwide distrust in capitalism and Singapore is not immune from such trends.

More losing confidence in capitalism

Edelman, a public-relations firm conducted its 20th annual global survey on trust in major societal institutions.

The Trust Barometer pulled data from more than 34,000 respondents in 28 markets, 1,150 respondents per market.

The study found that 56% of the global population said “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.”

In Singapore, 54% agreed that “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.”

Levels of distrust in capitalism ranged from 35% in Japan to 75% in Thailand.

Pessimism about the future

In 15 of the 28 markets surveyed, most people said they will not be better off in five years, including Singapore where only 42% of respondents agreed so. This constituted an 8-point drop from 2019.

Japan was the most pessimistic market, with only 15% saying they’ll be better off in five years, followed by France at 19% and Germany at 23%.

Singaporean respondents also cited immigration, the gig economy, and the looming recession as the top three reasons for fear of losing a job, with 67% of respondents citing these reasons.

Growing divide between elites and masses

The Trust Barometer also found a growing “trust” divide between elites and the public that could be a reflection of income inequality, Edelman said.

While 65% of the worldwide informed public said they trust their institutions, only 51% of the mass public said the same. 

In Singapore, 71% of the informed public said they trust their institutions versus 60% of the mass public – an 11 percentage point gap.

The trust gap was the widest in Australia (23 points), Saudi Arabia (21 points), and France (21 points).

Trust in government

Overall, trust in government in Singapore continues to remain high with 70% of Singapore respondents saying they trust the government.

Notably, trust in government exceeds that of other institutions like business (58%), NGOs (64%), media (55%), the United Nations (60%), and the European Union (48%).

A noteworthy result is that China reported the second highest level of trust in the European Union with 75% of respondents answering in the affirmative. This stands in contrast with European countries like France (47%), UK (45%), and Germany (51%).

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