Sacrebleu! Less than a third of France believes in free markets
I came across this graph in the The Economist's coverage of the upcoming French presidential election. The piece focuses on France's economic woes and how it - not any of the PIIGS - is the country the euro zone should be most concerned about, and after just glancing at the graph, it's easy to see why they may be have a problème: only 31 percent of the French believe a free-market system is the best economic model.
From the article:
The French live with this national contradiction—enjoying the wealth and jobs that global companies have brought, while denouncing the system that created them—because the governing elite and the media convince them that they are victims of global markets... The French have consistently been told that they are the largely innocent victims of reckless bankers who lent foolishly, or wanton financial speculators... Mr Sarkozy has called for capitalism to become “moral” so as to curb such abuse. Mr Hollande has declared that his “main opponent is the world of finance”. Few politicians care to point out that a big part of the problem is the debt that successive French governments themselves have built up over the decades.
The situation, and accompanying rhetoric, sound eerily familiar to what we've heard from politicians over here. They've scapegoated a system that isn't even to blame for our troubles, causing Occupiers and others to believe the free-market and capitalist model is the problem. It's having an effect too - notice how the US population that believes in a free market has dropped from about 75 percent to less than 60 in just the past couple years.