Is the business community a force of good in the world and has to be protected from overzealous governments? Or is it the other way around and governments are protecting people by smoothing out the edges of late-stage capitalism? The newest edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer reveals in which countries people tend to believe one or the other.
According to the survey from late 2022, South Africans were the most likely to value business over government among the 28 nations included. This is largely due to the fact that trust in government is so low in the country. The nation that has seen a fair share of corruption scandals lately, which some have even described as “state capture”, recorded only 22 percent of people trusting the government. Combined with the country’s average trust in business at 62 percent, this still led to the highest net trust score for businesses in the survey at 40 percent. Mexico achieved a similar score but through different means. The country's high net trust in business is being created by low-to-average trust in government and an elevated trust in business. In 2022, trust in business in the country was 24 percent higher than trust in the government.
The United States scored about average for both metrics, but with trust in government lagging behind a little, business achieved a net positive score of 13 percent. Other countries where trust in government and trust in businesses were rated most equally tended to have a quite neutral stances on both. These places included Germany and Sweden as well as Canada and France.
Nations where trust in government won out meanwhile showed a tendency to highly trust both communities. This was the case in China, where businesses enjoy a trust rating of 84 percent and governments of 89 percent. In Saudi Arabia, these numbers stood at 73 percent and 83 percent, resulting in a net trust in government of 10 percent. Other countries where oftentimes oppressive governments commanded the trust of their citizens were Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.