Like Little Gold Nuggets Among Like-Minded Friends – Public Perception of Capitalism Among Selected Countries

By September 19th, 2013



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“Like Little Gold Nuggets Among Like-Minded Friends –  

The Correlation Between the Rise of Public Cynicism and the Diminishment of Reason”

The correlation between the rise of public cynicism and the diminishment of reason is that cynicism allows, if not encourages, facts to be increasingly seen as matter of possession — “my facts’ and ‘your facts’ — to be hidden from enemies; traded like little gold nuggets among like-minded friends; used as tools, shields or weapons in the attack or defense of some supposed greater truth.

Fortunately, facts have and can retain their own inherent strengths as well. Facts themselves can have a certain stubborn independence. Especially in our age of technology and the widening capacities for our open, free, and fast exchange of information, facts cannot be long-concealed or long-buried. However, it is a troubling characteristic of Current America that there has occurred a near-personalization of information. It is not just how or when a fact is discovered. Its ultimate significance and power too often emanates from who discovers and reveals the fact itself — and who and how the fact is sometimes reiterated or ignored, as the case may be, in the echo chambers of our society.

 A simple example: Earlier this morning, it was reported that based upon a report by HSBC nearly 20% of Americans (one in five) will not or cannot retire. The reasons certainly vary widely — high unemployment, low wage growth, diminished savings, and greater longevity, and even personal preference. This 20% of the U.S. compares with the U.K. (19%), France (12%), China (7%), and Brazil (5%).

Furthermore, nearly 30% of Americans ages 65-69. This percentage trails only South Korea (42%) and Japan (37%), but it is far greater than France (6%)(I know, how exactly do they do it?) and Germany (10%).  For some, however, the impact of these facts (and even the level of the data’s perceived accuracy) is diminished based upon the mere fact that it was reported by CNN and Internet-posted by Knowing the source and evaluating the credibility of facts are relevant — and should be. However, too often information in Current America is nearly blindly, almost reactively, accepted or rejected based solely upon the source. Information is absorbed and used or rejected and dismissed too often and too conveniently due to sourcing. Instead, it may be more productive for our cynicism to be contained and at times held even in check so that information and data can more easily enter our public debate. In this example, it may be a reality that 20% of Americans are not able to retire. If this IS true, then it may — indeed it should, affect our better understanding of the powerful (and possibly adverse right now) impact our economy condition has had upon a broad swathe of our more elderly citizens.

Adapted from Borgen, M., The Relevance of Reason – Business and Politics (2013), p. 7.

Fact of the Day    

Public Perception of Capitalism As a “System That Works Well”

Based upon a Special Report in The Economist, albeit using slightly dated polling data, the following is the percentage affirmative response, by selected countries, to the statement that “capitalism is a system that works well and should be preserved.” Obviously perception can be a distant measure of reality, but perception is important and can have an extraordinary affect upon senses of economic well-being and fairness and the capacities for even a political system to respond, to change, and to govern efficiently.

            Country                                            Percentage Agreeing With Statement

       China                                                                                        64%

       United States                                                                   55%

       Germany                                                                                  45%

       United Kingdom                                                                     45%

       Italy                                                                                           25%

      France                                                                                        15%

Borgen, M., The Relevance of Reason – Business and Politics (2013), p. 128, citing The Economist, November 17-23, 2012, p. 14 of Special Report citing December, 2010 polling data.




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