Magazine
A Tale of Two Regions: Capitalism versus Socialism

Former President Ronald Reagan must be turning over in his grave. An opinion poll showing only 53 percent of Americans considered capitalism a better system than socialism raised questions over whether the financial crisis was taking a toll on faith in the free market. The results of the April survey by the reputable Rasmussen Reports sparked a brief debate among business pundits. Twenty percent of those surveyed called socialism a better system and a full 27 percent said they were unsure which system was better. But there were caveats. The poll did not define socialism. And one subgroup staunchly stands by the late President Reagan’s push for less government. U.S. investors – by a 5 to 1 margin — chose capitalism as the better system in the Rasmussen poll.

Concluding Americans are abandoning the “magic of the market” in favor of the government might also be premature.
In a June poll, 80 percent of those surveyed wanted the government to sell its stake in General Motors and Chrysler as soon as possible. Only 11 percent wanted the government to retain ownership for a longer time.

But for Latin America and the Caribbean, the free market revolution is losing steam, at least in public opinion. A little noticed Gallup poll carried out last year in 19 Latin American and Caribbean countries depicted a region increasingly cool to capitalism.
In the survey, Mexico and Panama were the only countries where a majority of those polled described themselves as more capitalist than socialist. In the other countries, from Argentina to Trinidad & Tobago, the majority of people favored socialism, sometimes by a margin of 5 to 1.
Depending on which poll you believe, Americans and their Latin American and Caribbean counterparts stand far apart on economic ideology.

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Click on the images for a better look.

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