Here is an interesting chart based on a survey by GlobeScan, a polling firm, and published in The Economist (online) on 6 April 2011.

The survey tested attitudes on the question of whether the free market was the best system for the world’s future.

As one would expect, the United States ranked fairly high, with 59% agreeing ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ with the proposition.  But this was down from 80% when the question was first asked in 2002, perhaps influenced by the interventionist Bush and Obama administrations and the GFC (global financial crisis).

More interestingly, there was more support for the free market in China than in the United States.  Both China and Brazil have seen strong growth in their rankings in recent years.

A German economist suggested to me that Germany’s top ranking may have reflected a different ‘social market’ interpretation of the question.

Australia has a relatively low ranking and New Zealand was not covered.



  1. Based on my anecdotal assessment of attitudes in the two countries, New Zealand would be well below Australia. There appears to be a reasonable positive correlation between these survey results and relative economic performance in recent years – it would be interesting to see what the statistical correlation is.

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