Survey: Millennials Don’t See Capitalism as a Given

Print Share on LinkedIn More
Image: Courtesy of www.SeniorLiving.Org

Ken Teegardin

Image: Courtesy of SeniorLiving.Org

April 26, 2016; Washington Post

Even as we consider this article, we get the sense that younger people are ready for a different core image of what the economy could and should do.

According to the latest survey by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, 18- to 29-year-olds are discouraged with society’s status quo in the U.S. The targeted age group spent a significant portion of their life during economic turmoil—they grew up in the recession that began in 2008.

The poll suggests “a majority of America’s 18- to 29-year-olds rejects both socialist and capitalist labels. 42 percent of young Americans support capitalism, and 33 percent say they support socialism.” Among likely millennial voters, 41 percent support socialism and 52 percent support capitalism. The nation is not going in the right direction according to three out of four young people surveyed. They did not, however, have a clearly defined direction for the country’s improvement. Although they fault the system, they do not think that the government should be a significant part of regulating the economy; only 27 percent agreed. They do not have confidence that the perceived source of the problems can be the entity that can fix those problems.

The polling director, John Della Volpe, interviewed a small sample of those surveyed in an attempt to find cause for the responses. He found that millennials believe the current form of capitalism does not provide opportunities for individuals to succeed, even if they work hard. Only 11 percent of those polled trust Wall Street. When asked about women’s opportunities, 59 percent agreed that the glass ceiling exists, further compounding their perceptions of a faulty economic model.

“Millennials care deeply about their futures and in this election cycle they are laser-focused on issues like access to educational opportunity, women’s equality and the economy,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Maggie Williams. “This survey reflects their passion, their worries and most importantly, a growing awareness that their voices have power.”—Marian Conway