Apparently, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has not been the crushing victory for free-market capitalism that it seemed at the time—particularly after the events of the last 12 months, according to this interesting poll by the BBC World Service.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the BBC World Service
In only two countries do more than one in five feel that capitalism works well as it stands—surprise, surprise, the US (25%) and Pakistan (21%).
The most common view is that free market capitalism has problems that can be addressed through regulation and reform—a view held by an average of 51% of more than 29,000 people polled by GlobeScan/PIPA.
But an average of 23% feel that capitalism is fatally flawed, and a new economic system is needed—including 43% in France, 38% in Mexico, 35% in Brazil and 31% in Ukraine.
Furthermore, majorities would like their government to be more active in owning or directly controlling their country’s major industries in 15 of the 27 countries. This view is particularly widely held in countries of the former Soviet states of Russia (77%), and Ukraine (75%), but also Brazil (64%), Indonesia (65%), and France (57%).
Majorities support governments distributing wealth more evenly in 22 of the 27 countries —on average two out of three (67%) across all countries. In 17 of the 27 countries most want to see government doing more to regulate business—on average 56%.
The poll also asked about whether the breakup of the Soviet Union was a good thing or not. While an average of 54% say it was a good thing, this is the majority view in only 15 of the countries polled. An average of 22% say it was mainly a bad thing, while 24% do not know.
Among former Warsaw Pact countries, most Russians (61%) and Ukrainians (54%) believe the breakup of the Soviet Union was a bad thing. In contrast, four in five Poles (80%) and nearly two-thirds of Czechs feel the disintegration of the USSR was a good thing (63%).
The results are drawn from a survey of 29,033 adult citizens across 27 countries, conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between 19 June and 13 October 2009.