40 Percent Of Americans Now "Prefer Socialism To Capitalism"

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,

Americans are increasingly embracing socialism, and this is particularly true for young adults under the age of 30. As you will see below, four out of every ten Americans now prefer socialism to capitalism, and if current trends continue it is just a matter of time before those that prefer socialism are in the majority. Of course our society has already been very heavily socialized. We have been trained to believe that if a problem exists, then it is the job of government to fix it, and over time government on all levels of our system has just gotten bigger and bigger. But what most Americans don’t realize is that the United States never would have become an economic powerhouse without free market capitalism, and the further that we drift away from our roots the deeper that our economic problems will become. We need leaders that are willing to stand up and proudly declare that free market capitalism works incredibly well when the shackles are taken off, and that is precisely what I intend to do.

Not too long ago, a survey of U.S. adults was conducted by the American Culture and Faith Institute, and the most disturbing thing that was discovered was that 40 percent of all Americans now “prefer socialism to capitalism”…

“The most alarming result, according to [George] Barna, was that four out of every ten adults say they prefer socialism to capitalism,” the ACFI noted in its commentary on the poll.


“That is a large minority,” Barna said, “and it includes a majority of the liberals — who will be pushing for a completely different economic model to dominate our nation. That is the stuff of civil wars. It ought to set off alarm bells among more traditionally-oriented leaders across the nation.’” That 40 percent of Americans now prefer socialism to capitalism could spell major change to the policies advanced by legislators and political leaders and to the interpretations of judges ruling on the application of new and pre-existing laws.

So what happens when that figure rises above 50 percent?

Are we going to go down the exact same road that Europe has gone?

And support for socialism is particularly high among our young people. A Gallup poll conducted in 2016 found that an astounding 55 percent of Americans under the age of 30 “have a positive view of socialism”. Also, a Harvard University study that was reported on by the Washington Post discovered that 51 percent of U.S. adults under the age of 30 “do not support capitalism”.

These numbers help to explain why politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have such high levels of support among Millennials. These young people were raised in schools that taught them that we have a “free market system” in America today, even though that is not really true at all. And as economic conditions deteriorate, millions of these young people are becoming disillusioned. The following comes from an extraordinary piece that was published by Business Insider

Wages are stagnant or falling. The costs of health care, child care, and tuition continue to rise exponentially. Full-time jobs turn into contract positions while benefits are slashed. Middle-class jobs are replaced with low-paying service work. The expectations of American life your parents had when you were born — that a “long boom” will bring about unparalleled prosperity — crumble away.


Baby boomers tell you there is a way out: a college education has always been the key to a good job. But that doesn’t seem to happen anymore. The college graduates you know are drowning in student debt, working for minimum wage, or toiling in unpaid internships. Prestigious jobs are increasingly clustered in cities where rent has tripled or quadrupled in a decade’s time. You cannot afford to move, and you cannot afford to stay. Outside these cities, newly abandoned malls join long abandoned factories. You inhabit a landscape of ruin. There is nothing left for you.

Years upon years of “training” in our failing system of public education has convinced large numbers of our young people that the solution to our economic ills is to move more toward socialism.

But of course that is about the last thing that we need. What we really need to do is to rediscover the principles that made our economy great in the first place, but there are very few national leaders that are standing up for those principles any longer.

Socialism simply does not work.

If we continue our steady march down the road toward socialism, we will ultimately end up like all of the other failed socialist experiments throughout history

Let us look at the socialist alternative favored by Sanders and Warren. The miseries, deprivations, and backwardness it has inflicted on populations wherever and whenever it has been tried are boundless. They amount to the biggest empirical data set of political and economic failure in the history of humankind. In Venezuela, to take only the latest unfortunate experiment, it has meant the world’s largest oil reserves being wasted and stolen while children starve on the streets. The historical legacy of Soviet socialism, National Socialism, and Maoist Communism, to cite the most egregious versions of this poisonous left-wing political ideology, is so well known that it does not need to be rehearsed here.


Even those countries that experienced the more gentle “democratic socialism,” such as modern South Africa and Brazil, socialism has allowed corrupt politicians to pilfer state industries while the poor live and die young in slums. Even in the socialized utopias of Europe, it has meant destructive youth unemployment rates, a dearth of innovation, and death panels in hospitals.

Our nation is in deep, deep trouble, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

Now is the time to stand up and fight for the future of our nation, because if we don’t we may wake up one day and discover that the country we all loved so much is gone for good.

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eforce's picture

So at least 40% of Americans are idiots...

Arnold's picture

We can make it work this time if we all pull together.
I'll hold the whip.

YUNOSELL's picture

It's because capitalism (at least the kind Adam Smith envisioned) doesn't really exist anymore unless you consider the modern form of crony capitalism enough to qualify

stitch-rock's picture

Whats really off is that here in the US, it is supposed to be neither of these: we live in a Constitutional Republic.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America.
And to the REPUBLIC for which it stands..."

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Wait until the system collapses.  That 40% will turn to 80% and the remaining 20% will need to be running for their lives. 

tmosley's picture

Gen Z is the mosy conservative on record. This is mostly millenials and darkies. The former is finished growing as a voting bloc, and Trump is working to end the importation, and increase the reexport of the latter.

eforce's picture

There is no such thing as "crony capitalism" just socialism.

Caloot's picture

When the dollar collapses history will say capitalism collapsed.

Eager Beaver's picture

I reject both. Why does everything in this world have to be one-dimensional? You all do realize there are always more than two choices, right?

eforce's picture

You're either right or wrong, capitalism is the natural order of things, read the dictionary it makes it quite obvious.

Eager Beaver's picture

Typical with us, or against us idiocy that is the real root of the problem. Read the dictionary? Fucking please. Who do you think writes the dicitonaries?

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

40% is pretty impressive (low) considering 50% voted for the evil, mean, nasty, corrupt, dishonest, bitch, cankle laden, socialist, did I mention mean?, witch, Hillary(!). And, something like 90% are indoctrinated in government (socialist - government owned) "schools" for most of their formative years.

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

And still 98% of them don't even know what Socialism means. 

Socialism is in fact a transitory state.  By definition it is the pathway to communism. It is only ever meant to be a stepping stone, not the destination. 

Like lemmings over the cliff. 

Protect yourself at all times. 


Eager Beaver's picture

Right, like capitalism prevented the pathway to communism. Guess what bub, look around. This is communism, it's already here, it's not coming, and people champion it as freedom. Amurica, fuck yeah! We just haven't had to endure the joy of Bolshevism yet, that's coming to a town near you.

centipede's picture

Rational men make no compromise with evil. They are against it. That is the real root of the problem.

Why socialists need to force other people to take part on their utopia? Why don't they just simply show us a perfectly working prototype of a socialist community based on voluntary participation if it is such a great idea?

Ghost of Porky's picture

Venezuelans are fighting street gangs for scraps of toilet paper and US college students chant "What do we want? Socialism!"


We are so screwed.

Itinerant's picture

Capitalism is not natural, and did not exist prior to the 19th century, moron. Capitalism is a term coined by Karl Marx to describe the prevailing form of economic organization back then.

 Capitalism is the only "ism" that does not require you to be for something, but just to be very rich. A capitalist is not some deluded American Republican, but a person who is in possession of capital -- it isn't an idea.

Adam Smith was for the small producer and was against privilege, monopoly, war, and unearned rent. Less than 50% of the American economy goes to wages, and a large portion of the other 50% is not hand-outs, but economic rent funelling up to the top of the privileged ownership class.

The reason 40% of younger Americans think socialism is better is because they don't look at Venezuala, but Sweden, Germany, or the Netherlands, where people have more security and less stress, more vacation, better educational opportunities, healthcare, and fewer slums. By the way, those are not socialist countries, but are home to BP, Shell, Ikea, and many others. Every nationalistic/resistance movement in the world is based on creating a social economy, and not one for the owners who are in control: you can't get anybody to risk their life fighting for the cause of wealthy owners: those can easily be found or replaced.

Socialism just means democracy in the area of economics: people get to have some control over their own existence. Capitalism is anti-democratic, hierarchical like the army, and authoritarian.

Free markets is something completely different than capitalism. They had markets in 3000 BC, but no capitalism. The term "free" is kind of meaningless: a market is where you exchange goods/money on a voluntary basis. Most of the current "market economy" has little to do with open markets, and the parties that exert the most effort to reigning in the free exchange of goods and services are the capitalists and the ownership class, who buy politicians to institutionalize their privileges. As Adam Smith quipped, in a truly free market it is almost impossible to realize a profit.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Hate to break the bad news to you ... some 85% of Americans own "capital" and what they do with it is their decision. 

The only other economic/political system that has a prayer of working is national socialism. 

What would you prefer:

1) Social State or 

2) Open borders? 

You cannot have both. 

Free markets in the Prussian sense of the meaning I can get behind, but that would be taking an axe to some 80% of "social" spending. Shoot, the benefits the U.S. hands out would make the average Soviet in the 60's green with envy.  

I appreciate the issues inherent with capitalism -- and it suffers the same problem as other economic systems -- we human beings are greedy people.  

Luc X. Ifer's picture

Agree. I wonder how many of these 40% kmow the difference between socialism and communism and what are the needed boundaries around any political doctrine either of left or right flavour to prevent it transform into an oligarchy and implicitly in one of the two flavours of fascism - nazism or communism.


striped-pad's picture

You don't need to be very rich to benefit from capitalism. Any self-employed worker who owns their own tools is a capitalist, albeit a small-scale one. Any owner of a small business (e.g. car maintenance, hairdresser, corner shop) is a capitalist too. Adam Smith would say that, while some of those people's incomes is wages, the remainder is capitalist's profit on the ownership of their capital. That's why I think Piketty's approach is wrong – instead of just giving more for labour, it's far better for people who labour for a living to become capitalists, magnifying their productivity and retaining the profits themselves instead of having to share them with others.

I don't think you'll find much support for privilege, monopoly, war and unearned rent on ZH.

You say that socialism just means democracy in the area of economics, and I think I agree with you about that characterisation. I just don't think it is a good, or fair, way of allocating the wealth which people create. Make no mistake – people create wealth, and their productivity is amplified by the capital they employ, often many times over. There is every reason to think that the owner of the capital and the worker should be the ones to share the fruits of that production. To me, it would seem a great injustice if a large group of people who were not involved in producing in any way at all were to decide that the produce should be shared with them just because they exist and have a vote. That actually prevents people from having control over their own existence – they become reliant upon the patronage of political leaders for their welfare rather than on their own efforts. And what do you call it when the agents of the State take away your produce to distribute according to the politicians' (alleged) interpretation of the popular will, if not authoritarian?

Have a read of Hayek's The Intellectuals and Socialism, where he analyses this tendency of intellectuals to assume that the more democracy there is, the better.

centipede's picture

There is no problem with people having control over their own existence, but socialism in real world usually means that they want control over your existence too. Why can't they have socialism based on voluntary participation and don't force other people who do no harm to anybody else to participate?

I think you have no clue what free market, capitalism let alone equality of rights mean.

jbwilson24's picture

"By the way, those are not socialist countries, but are home to BP, Shell, Ikea, and many others."


You do realize that companies like BP have significant amounts of public sector investment/ownership right? The British Pension Plan is tied up in BP, giving the govt significant input into its decisions. A terrible example of a private sector company.

"Socialism just means democracy in the area of economics: people get to have some control over their own existence. Capitalism is anti-democratic, hierarchical like the army, and authoritarian"


Sure, you can define things as you please. Socialism involves public ownership of the means of production. The USA has plenty of socialism kicking around. If you extend 'production' to infrastructure, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, HUD, the Farm Bill (etc) are clearly socialist. Norway, Germany, Canada (etc) have plenty of socialist style programs too.


Capitalism can be defined as voluntary free exchange, in which case it is not hierarchical, not authoritarian, and no anti-democratic. The current incarnation of 'capitalism' in the USA does indeed have some bad features, but the question is whether 'capitalism' is the right term given the sheer number of socialist aspects (particularly those introduced during the New Deal).

remain calm's picture

Translated: The state has taken control of 40% of the population, only 11% more to go.

DetectiveStern's picture

Same. I'm against big government. Whether said government is capitalist or socialist is moot. Besides socialism isn't popular most people I know who support it are in favour of big daddy govt looking after them. That ain't real socialism.

BrownCoat's picture

There is a bias instilled in people that "it can't happen here."

It *IS* here!  Wake up and smell the socialism. 
It matters not at all that socialism does not work. It works for a few. When it stops working, things get worse. When it does work, like today, things suck - just not as bad as it is going to get.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Saying there are no absolutes is an absolute.

That said, I would embrace Nationalist Socialism, if a Nationalized Health care systems is used to reduce the r-selective population. Perhaps then we can have rational discussions about free markets?

eforce's picture

And we know who 'history' is written by...

Billy the Poet's picture

If capitalism collapses there will be no future in which to write history.

Life as we know it is not possible without capital. Capital is the preparations you make today in order to be more productive tomorrow. The student who learns a useful skill, the farmer who sharpens his plow and the entrpeneur who reinvests his profits all practice capitalism. The only way to live without capital is to sit under a tree and eat bugs. Even making a sharp stick or a stone tool is creation of capital.

Eager Beaver's picture

Blah blah blah blah blha blha blha.

Typical capitalist. You fuckers are as bad as the socialists with their litany of "causes" for everything.

Did capitalism build the infrastructure that this web site or anything else you know and love and use online?

Billy the Poet's picture

Please provide details regarding your method of living without skills, tools or plans to be productive in the future. 

Eager Beaver's picture

I guess you and I differ on the definition of capital, if that's your definition, then I accept that.

Billy the Poet's picture

I didn't down vote you.

Consider this:


Imagine that you are stuck on a desert island. To survive, you
catch fish by hand in the ocean. Since they are fast and slippery, it’s a
difficult job, taking you 12 hours to catch two fish; 6 hours per fish.
You can therefore catch only two fish per day. But then you get smart:
you decide to make a net. Yet making a fishing net by hand takes time,
too, as it involves many steps: searching the island for raw materials
like grasses and vines; finding something to serve as the handle; twining
and bending strong but pliable vines or twigs into a rim to support
the netting; and finally braiding and weaving vines into netting and
tying it to the frame to form a sieve-like scoop. With no tools available,
this process will take you five days by hand. To take five days off
of fishing without going hungry, you must save some of your caught
fish for a couple of days by eating only one fish per day instead of two.
The saved fish will sustain you for the five days it takes to build the
net, and once the net is complete, you can catch 50 fish per day.


This example introduces some basic components of an economy.
You have savings (the fish you set aside to eat over the course
of several days) that sustained you while you produced a capital good
(the net). The capital good, which, in this case, was also a new technology,
allowed you to improve your productivity (the number of fish you
“produced” per day). Now that you have plenty of food to keep you
from starving, you have more free time and labor available. You can
use this to improve your standard of living by building a hut, a bed,
clothes, and maybe even a boat. In addition to time and labor, though,
you will need tools (more capital goods) with which to build these
things. That means that it will take a lot of time, savings, and production
of capital goods to improve your standard of living.



Eager Beaver's picture

I didn't down vote you either, I find the voting thing silly.

I'm more a fan of Kropotkin;

life in societies enables the feeblest animals, the feeblest birds, and the feeblest mammals to resist, or to protect themselves from the most terrible birds and beasts of prey; it permits longevity; it enables the species to rear its progeny with the least waste of energy and to maintain its numbers albeit a very slow birth-rate; it enables the gregarious animals to migrate in search of new abodes. Therefore, while fully admitting that force, swiftness, protective colors, cunningness, and endurance to hunger and cold, which are mentioned by Darwin and Wallace, are so many qualities making the individual or the species the fittest under certain circumstances, we maintain that under any circumstances sociability is the greatest advantage in the struggle for life. Those species which willingly abandon it are doomed to decay; while those animals which know best how to combine have the greatest chance of survival and of further evolution, although they may be inferior to others in each of the faculties enumerated by Darwin and Wallace, except the intellectual faculty.


Billy the Poet's picture

sociability is the greatest advantage in the struggle for life.


That is the premise on which free market capitalism is based. An lone individual can improve his life by increasing his capital and thereby his productive output but the real merits of capitalism and specifically free market capitalism come into play when multiple individuals come together to work and trade the products produced by their different abilities. This is called the division of labor and it's what makes your life as comfortable as it is.

general ambivalent's picture

You are conflating skill with capitalism, which is the decentralisation of private interest. Private interest isn't necessarily a skill, in fact it is quite the opposite. Historically set, capitalism rises alongside industrialisation, where replacement and displacement of skill is fundamental.

Further, sharpening a tool can be learned from the most brutal master. It is not inherently capitalistic to prepare or to learn a skill. You are trying to equate capitalist ideology with the eternal because you are a dogmatic believer (and ironically, this means that you are equating almost everything with capitalism, besides 'eating bugs', so you undermine your own definition with circular logic and contradictions). Reality is the opposite, read "The Song of the Broad Axe" for the difference.

Billy the Poet's picture

Why do you believe that the knowledge that one must make an effort today in order to more productive in the future constitutes dogmatism? It is a testable hypothesis.

general ambivalent's picture

You've hit on the main difference between capitalism and communism. In communism the state redistributes material wealth; in capitalism the state redistributes stupidity.

Capitalism is just a really backwards form of socialism where the poor and stupid people get satisfaction from redistributing their wealth to the rich. A nice golden shower seems to be the only socialist program in true Capitalism (TM).

Billy the Poet's picture

I surmise that your desire to make a silly argument has as much to do with fooling yourself as it does with obfuscating my point. That leaves the question: why?


Capitalism is just a really backwards form of socialism where the poor and stupid people get satisfaction from redistributing their wealth to the rich

Please explain why you believe that a fisherman who upgrades from a spear to a net is a stupid person who gives his wealth to the rich?


Eager Beaver's picture

I don't think this is a silly argument at all, just look around at all of the "capitalists" who want to berate people for not paying their taxes. The good 'ol, free USA, with it's central bank and it's graduated income tax, right out of the communist manifesto, and championed by every red-blooded American captialist. Most of them profess to be conservative too, but really, that usually just means they're Christian, which just goes to show how smart these people are. Although, I think this mental disease has about worked itself through to completion.

Billy the Poet's picture

I don't think this is a silly argument at all, just look around at all of the "capitalists" who want to berate people for not paying their taxes.


George Bush said that he bombed the hell out of the Iraqis for their "freedom." In your opinion does that mean that freedom itself is a bad thing or does it mean that sometimes people lie about their real intent? The same applies to capitalism. If some bad people say they are capitalists in order to cover their immoral actions does that make capitalism itself bad?

general ambivalent's picture

I explained that above. Technological replacement isn't unique to capitalism. The Romans used their own weapons and sometimes replaced them with designs from the people they conquered. Absolute monarchists attempted to improve shipbuilding, and sought out superior musicians and instruments.

You are conflating a general aspect of economy (really, technology or science) to a particular theory, so as to make it seem better than it is.

Eager Beaver's picture

I completely agree, you've said it really well.

Capitalism is not the driving force behind innovation, it has absolutely nothing to do with it. Innovation is driven by human desire and that can be fueled by as many different things as their are humans on this planet. Achieving innovation demands the acquisition of new skills, and it's inherint in our human nature, even if we were sitting under trees, we'd be acquiring some kind of new skills, you can be sure. Organizing that effort, allowing it to be free, or controlling it, has nothing to do with the level of innovation. Trying to get that through the heads of some people is nearly hopeless.

Billy the Poet's picture

Innovation is driven by human desire


Where innovation is successful and increases productivity it is synonymous with capitalism. 


plural noun: capital goods
  1. goods that are used in producing other goods, rather than being bought by consumers.


A farmer builds a plow because he desires to obtain more food through less effort in the future by making an investment of time, energy and material today.That is capitalism


 When the farmer is able to keep the plow he built and distribute the produce as he sees fit then that is an example of free market capitalism. If the farmer has no control over his efforts and comrade Stalin comes along to commandeers the plow then how does that effect the farmer's desire to build plows in the future?

Billy the Poet's picture

If capitalism is not about capital then what is it about?

Billy the Poet's picture

Technological replacement isn't unique to capitalism.

Improved technology which increases production IS capital by definition. How can that which is capital not be the basis for capitalism?


plural noun: capital goods
  1. goods that are used in producing other goods, rather than being bought by consumers.
Billy the Poet's picture

You are conflating a general aspect of economy (really, technology or science) to a particular theory, so as to make it seem better than it is.


If I am making the process of preparing for the future sound better than it is then by all means explain why preparing for the future is a bad idea.

Åristotle's picture

"The student who learns a useful skill, the farmer who sharpens his plow and the entrpeneur who reinvests his profits all practice capitalism."

Yes, and to these ends:

Happiness is the cause of all goods.

Arnold's picture

If I was a Mason, I would disagree.

general ambivalent's picture

Capitalism is cronyism by its very nature. If one truly seeks to maximise his private interest then why would he not create contracts with friends? And does it not make more sense to ally with friends than the unknown of strangers? Then what happens when those working against my own private interests have built a conglomerate of friends? It should be obvious that I must develop my own cronyist conglomerate, or lose.

Simple problems like this are why capitalism has never worked; in fact, why it cannot work, since it fails on paper. There will never be a system where each man is an isolated 'Bah Humbug!' seller of goods, it just isn't possible.