Friday, February 5, 2010

Capitalism vs. Socialism

Gallup has an interesting new poll. HT to Jesse Walker.

Steve Horwitz has two posts at FEE (here and here,) about whether advocates of the free market system should continue using the term "capitalism" to mean "free market system." He even discussed describing the free market system as "socialism."

"Capitalism" creates a favorable impression for 61 percent of Americans, while "socialism" is viewed favorably by only 36 percent. Socialism has an unfavorable rating of 58 percent.

Among self-described liberals, 60 percent like capitalism and 61 percent like socialism. While I suppose there might be 20 percent of liberals who would be happy with either system, my guess is that the Swedish model counts as both capitalism and socialism to some liberals.

"Big Business" splits the American people, 49 percent have a favorable impression and 49 percent have an unfavorable impression.

The "The Federal Government" also creates a split, with 46 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable.

Free enterprise, small business, and entrepreneurs all create favorable impressions for the vast majority of Americans, whether they self-describe as conservatives, moderates, or liberals.


  1. I prefer using just freedom or economic freedom and I prefer to talk about what people should and should not be allowed to do rather than whether we should have markets, socialism or capitalism.

    For example if someone says that we should not trade with China, I respond with so do you think that people in the USA should not be allowed to buy from or sell to people in China.

    I think that worlds like market, socialism, capitalism are abstract and so allow people to avoid saying that they think people's freedom should be restricted.

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