Poll: Majority of 18- to 29-year-olds reject capitalism
A curious poll out of Harvard was published on Monday showing that 51% of people between 18 and 29 do not support capitalism.
But the curious aspect of this poll is that only 33% of respondents supported socialism. The dichotomy suggests that either most young people haven't a clue about the differernce between capitalism and socialism or, as the researchers believe, the opposition to capitalism arises out of anger at the status quo.
The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.
It isn't clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.
The results of the survey are difficult to interpret, pollsters noted. Capitalism can mean different things to different people, and the newest generation of voters is frustrated with the status quo, broadly speaking.
All the same, that a majority of respondents in Harvard University's survey of young adults said they do not support capitalism suggests that today's youngest voters are more focused on the flaws of free markets.
"The word 'capitalism' doesn't mean what it used to," said Zach Lustbader, a senior at Harvard involved in conducting the poll, which was published Monday. For those who grew up during the Cold War, capitalism meant freedom from the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes. For those who grew up more recently, capitalism has meant a financial crisis from which the global economy still hasn't completely recovered.
A subsequent survey that included people of all ages found that somewhat older Americans also are skeptical of capitalism. Only among respondents at least 50 years old was the majority in support of capitalism.
Although the results are startling, Harvard's questions accord with other recent research on how Americans think about capitalism and socialism. In 2011, for example, the Pew Research Center found that people ages 18 to 29 were frustrated with the free-market system.
In that survey, 46 percent had positive views of capitalism, and 47 percent had negative views — a broader question than what Harvard's pollsters asked, which was whether the respondent supported the system. With regard to socialism, by contrast, 49 percent of the young people in Pew's poll had positive views, and just 43 percent had negative views.
Years of indoctrination are finally paying off for the left. Their exalted position in academia and the culture has allowed them free access to the impressionable minds of youth, filling their heads with the notion that capitalism is evil. The magical thinking that socialism is the alternative hasn't quite caught on yet. But give them time. As long as no one is challenging their orthodoxy, they can win in the end.
If socialism ever does come to these shores, there will be no going back. Even when evidence of socialism's failure becomes self-evident, the young will be surprised at how thoroughly dissent will be stifled. What we've seen over the decades is that gradually, people become inured to socialism's contradictions and accept them. Eventually, any alternative will be demonized enough to make it unpalatable to most.
You'd like to think that as these young people age, they will change their attitude about a market economy. But with the government's continuing war on markets, there may not be much of a free economy left in a few years.
I just hope I'm not around when the revolution occurs.