Is the business community a force for good in the world that must be protected from overzealous governments? Or is it just the opposite, that the government is protecting the people by smoothing the edges of late capitalism? The latest edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer reveals the countries where people tend to trust one or the other.
South Africans value business over government more than people in any other country out of 28, according to a survey conducted in late 2022. This is mainly due to the low level of trust in the government in the country. Recently, there have been quite a few corruption scandals in the country, which some have even described as “captives of the state”. Only 22% of South Africans said they trusted the government last year. This resulted in the highest net trust score for businesses in the survey at 40%, despite the country’s average trust in businesses being 62%.
Mexico, on the other hand, scores high in net business trust with low to average trust in government and high trust in business. By 2022, the country will have 24% more trust in business than in government.
Other countries in the survey that had particularly low levels of trust in government were Argentina and Nigeria, so they ranked second and third for net trust in business, along with Japan, the UK and Spain. The U.S. scores about average on both indicators, but lags slightly behind with a net positive score of 13 per cent for businesses as trust in government.
Repressed = trustworthy?
Countries where trust in government and trust in business are rated the most equal tend to be fairly neutral between the two. These places include Germany and Sweden as well as Canada and France.
Countries that also win in trust in government show a trend toward general trust in both communities. This is the case in China, where businesses enjoy 84% trust and the government 89%. In Saudi Arabia, these figures were 73% and 83%, respectively, resulting in a net trust in the government of 10%. Other countries, such as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, often earn the trust of their citizens with oppressive governments.
Depend on politician