The Financial Times on 20 October published an interesting poll on who the public in a number of countries blame for the international financial crisis. Given that this is a socialist economic bulletin we would be pleased to report that the public blamed the crisis on capitalism but it would not be accurate. Asked the question 'Would you say that the current global financial crisis has been caused more by the "abuses of capitalism" or by the "failure of capitalism" itself', those believing that the problem was capitalism itself were about 7 per cent in the US, 10 per cent in Italy, 12 per cent in the UK, 14 per cent in Spain, and 17 per cent in France. Only in Germany, of the countries polled, was there evidence that a very substantial of the population were blaming capitalism as a whole - 30 per cent believing the crisis was due to capitalism itself.
In contrast those believing that the crisis was caused by 'abuses of capitalism' were 46 per cent in Germany, 51 per cent in the UK, 61 per cent in Spain, 63 per cent in Italy, 65 per cent in the US, and 67 per cent in France. Those groups or institutions who were believed to have 'complete responsibility' or a 'lot of responsibility' for the crisis among the population of the European Union countries were bankers (80 per cent), Central Banks (70 per cent) and short sellers (64 per cent).
These results give no comfort to the idea that the population of any advanced country is chomping at the bit for socialism as yet. But they do show that very large sections of the population blame important capitalist institutions for the current events. It gives an interesting base line for assessing the situation. The full and detailed results of the poll can be found here.