Rasmussen reports that “53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism,” while 20 percent favor socialism and 27 percent don’t know.
Here’s the worse news: “Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided.”
The problem with the report and the survey question is that people’s understanding of the terms varies radically. Many think that the massive-statist George W. Bush epitomized capitalism. Many conflate capitalism with modern corporatism, the meshing of corporations and government. Many think institutions such as the Federal Reserve comport with capitalism. The American economy today is not capitalistic, but mixed, with elements of freedom and controls.
So, while I’m heartened that most people at least have a favorable impression of capitalism and a disfavorable impression of socialism, the key is to educate people about what capitalism means, how it protects freedom and individual rights, and how it fosters prosperity.