Majority of young Americans distrust capitalism, embrace socialism

Oh, those naive millennials! Do they not realize that regulating Exxon and Corrections Corporation of America means they must give up their iPhones? /s

It’s possible to make use of, and even praise, the products and services of large corporations without accepting that the invisible hand of the market is the only way to guide society. Welcome to BoingBoing, which you will find is full of bright folks capable of this sort of mental juggling.


What’s not to like about capitalism? I mean, sure, it only provides significant public benefit within a delicately balanced state of equilibrium that can only be maintained by a strong, honest, business-independent government. And sure, it’s a clear public disaster for services where the cost of a even single failure is catastrophic, like healthcare, police, prisons, fire departments, armies, nuclear power, and so on. And sure, there are plenty of wealthy individuals who will corrupt its meaning to the point where the word “capitalism” is almost indistinguishable from “divinely ordained feudal monarchy.”

But what’s not to like?


so an anachro-syndicatist then?


Thank you, sir. Agree. btw, at #9, Exxon is one-third the size of Apple, whose product-users, if so threatened, would give new meaning to “…my cold, dead fingers.” As for me, it’s more like Welcome back. Was here in the late '90s.

I know, i hinted as much in my post. Plenty of people are happy to give their trust and money to certain big corporations, but that doesn’t mean that those same corporations, and generally speaking, are customer friendly.

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What you did there, see it I do!

It isn’t so much that socialism is all that much more popular, but that capitalism’s popularity has started tanking.



“Vote Socialist! We Seemingly Care!” may be a little problematic as a campaign platform.

Indeed. The first thing I want to know about any political system is “How well does it prevent and punish corruption and cronyism?” The amount of capitalism/socialism it contains is of lesser importance.

Yes it is, and in the kind of socialism I endorse, monopolies are dismantled, competition and consumer choice are highly valued. I’m not so much for the “socialism” that involves queueing up for toilet paper and turnips.

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I know for a fact those in power both on the established Dems side and Republicans don’t care. I’m not naive enough to think everyone challenging them is what they seem to be. Good job nitpicking my words btw

Negative points for the non linear x-axis.
Extra negative points for not starting at 0 on the y-axis


Can a smart Boinger please define ‘democratic socialism’ with a calm and emotionless explanation?

I live in Illinois - a ‘democrat’ controlled state - and all I see is taxes going up, debt going up, public service employees getting plush pensions [], and people fleeing. My experience is that people are becoming tired of funding other’s lifestyles. In Illinois, generational wealth is being created via generational debt. The people being hurt the most are on the lower end; that’s the area democrats [socialists?] say they want to help the most. Real people are being impacted by these public policies.

Where does ‘democratic socialism’ begin and what are the limits? What’s the goal line?

Boingers are pretty smart;,so I respect your replies in advance

Eh, I make and publish scientific graphs professionally. Zero isn’t actually requisite, and including it can impede/harm understanding. No zero on y axis ≠ automatic demerits, and certainly not in this case.

Agree with you about nonlinear x axis, though. :slight_smile:

The thing I’d like to see in this graph is a few decades more data.


In general I agree about the Y-axis not having to include 0, however consider the above graph: Superficially it appears to show support for capitalism has halved, which would indeed be a significant thing.

But a careful reading shows that it’s ‘only’ dropped from 56% to, what’s that, about 47%? So a drop of 9% absolute, or about 18% proportional. Now, that’s not nothing, but it isn’t half. It might even be within the margin of error.


“It’s possible that the drop in Democrats’ positive views of capitalism is related to Donald Trump’s presidency”

It’d be nice to drop it all on Trump, god knows he deserves to have lots of heavy things dropped on him, but be real about this. Obama and Clinton, the only two Dem presidents in my lifetime, were both unashamed capitalists. I know Americans regard the Dems as a left party, but the rest of the world sees them as centre at best, with occasional leans to the right. It’s more likely that they’ve become more aware of the many failures of capitalism over a longer period.


I mean, do you want the real answer or the answer the meaning that the dems are saying?

When a dem says they’re a “democratic socialist”, they mean almost exclusively that they’re a social democrat. This also ties in with what most americans (people?) mean when they say ‘socialist’, that is, they believe in regulations, a strong welfare state, and (non-state) capitalism (that is, the means of production such as factories and farms should mostly be in the hands of an elite class of ‘capitalists’ who operate these in order to make a profit,) as the primary economic driver. So the end goal is, as you often hear, Sweden. Relatively high taxes, very strong social safety net, but still capitalist in character.

Properly, however, democratic socialists are socialists (that is, they believe that the workers themselves should own the means of production.) The reason you tack on ‘democratic’ is in order to distinguish from what I’ll call the Leninist school of thought (as opposed to specific ideologies such as Marxism-Leninism, Stalin’s school, Trotskyism which had its own flavor, Juche, etc.)

The primary factor of Leninist schools is the presence of a ‘vanguard party’, a group of people heavily invested in moving towards a communist society whose job is to guide all the proles on this journey. This pretty much always entails some form of state capitalism as the primary economic engine. That is, a lot like the capitalist mode of production, but things are run by the state nominally to build the economy enough to get to the point where we can turn this whole thing over to the people, referred to as the “withering away of the state.” This isn’t universal, however, and there were states such as Yugoslavia which took a much more positive view of the workers and allowed them to manage the state-owned companies (read more here.) My understanding is that Cuba also has some more democratic and less party-centric leanings, but don’t quote me on that.

As far as democratic socialism proper, it’s hard to give you a proper, specific definition. It’s essentially a catch-all term which means “not leninist/authoritarian” that ranges from Rosa Luxemburg to the original UK Labor Party to Proudhonian mutualists to syndicalists to anarcho-communists to, interestingly enough, Helen Keller and Albert Einstein.


Yeah, the x-axis is not great. The data seems to come from here: Democrats More Positive About Socialism Than Capitalism and is all of it, so it is unclear what the natural range of variation is.

With a better x-axis, here is Gallup’s graph for all Americans:


Same thing, innit?

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What precisely do you mean with that phrase?

Are those democrats affiliated with the DSA? If not then they probably aren’t socialists, and are far more likely to be social liberals.


Primitive man adapted himself to the environment
Western man adapted the environment to himself
Modern capitalist/socialist man CONTROLs man