According to The Economist, faith in free markets has dropped dramatically in the U.S.:
FAITH in the free market is at a low in the world’s biggest free-market economy. In 2010, 59% of Americans asked by GlobeScan, a polling firm, agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that the free market was the best system for the world’s future. This has fallen sharply from 80% when the question was first asked in 2002.
According to their graphic, the biggest supporters of free markets are now Germany, Brazil, and China!
Source: The Economist
Maybe the self-esteem movement has gone too far and Americans just don’t like the idea of failure—but that’s what is supposed to happen in capitalism. If you run a lousy business, it’s supposed to fail. That’s the genius of capitalism, the “creative destruction” that Joseph Schumpeter wrote about. While it may be individually difficult at times, societally it is fantastic. Each failure is a signpost on the way to ultimate success. (And, by the way, relative strength is an excellent way to sort the winners and the losers.)
There are still lots of American corporations doing first-class business in a first-class way. And if this poll is any guide, maybe looking overseas in Germany, Brazil, and China isn’t a bad idea either!