DAVOS, Switzerland – Growing income inequality is undermining capitalist confidence around the world, according to a survey conducted by public relations firm Edelman ahead of a gathering of elites at a Swiss ski resort in Davos.
Among those surveyed in the report released on Monday, 56% feel that capitalism is doing more harm than good in spite of strong economic growth and almost full employment for another year in many developed countries.
This scathing search could spark a stir among business executives and political leaders as they approach the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
“We live in a trust paradox,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, who has been conducting the confidence survey for 20 years. “As we begin to measure confidence, economic growth has encouraged growing confidence.”
While the link between economic growth and trust remains in developing regions such as the Middle East and Asia, the survey found that growing inequality in many rich countries has weakened confidence in capitalism.
“Fear is dampening hopes, and long-held speculation about hard work leading to upward dynamics is now illegal,” Edelman said.
Businesses and NGOs are the organizations that people trust most to tackle global problems, a blow to governments influenced by populist and partisan politics.
Climate issues are paramount, and business leaders can no longer ignore consumer concerns because brands can quickly become tarnished if they are viewed as unethical.
“There’s a growing risk of sucking brands and CEOs have orders to work from customers and employees,” Edelman said.
Recently, BlackRock CEO Lawrence Fink said his firm, which manages about $ 7 trillion for investors, will focus climate change and sustainability on its investment approach. And Credit Suisse, after a protest against its activities at a branch in Switzerland, said it would stop investing in new coal-fired power plants.
Consumer product giant Unilever, which manufactures Sure Deodorant or Comfort Fabric Conditioner, has promised to halve the use of Virgin Plastics by 2025.
“A catalyst for business change,” Edelman said.
The survey involved 30 minutes of online interviews with more than 34,000 people worldwide between October 19 and November 18 in 28 countries.
Pan Pilas, Associated Press