A new survey conducted by Harvard University found that a majority of millennials now reject capitalism.
The Harvard poll asked young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 what they thought about capitalism, socialism, and the role of government. The results left those conducting the research scratching their heads. A majority of the respondents, 51%, said they do not support capitalism, only 42% having a favorable view of it.
Despite the large number who denounced capitalism, however, only 33% said they supported socialism, a result that left analysts suggesting that there was some confusion in millennial minds about the terms. The Washington Post provides some examples of the “conflicted” nature of millennials’ perspectives:
Just 27 percent believe government should play a large role in regulating the economy, the Harvard poll found, and just 30 percent think the government should play a large role in reducing income inequality. Only 26 percent said government spending is an effective way to increase economic growth
Yet 48 percent agreed that “basic health insurance is a right for all people.” And 47 percent agreed with the statement that “Basic necessities, such as food and shelter, are a right that the government should provide to those unable to afford them.”
The Post notes that Harvard’s results align with previous studies, including a 2011 Pew Research Center poll that found the 18-29 demo split on whether or not capitalism was a good thing, 46% saying yes, 47% saying no, while more of them, 49%, had a positive view of socialism. In other words, those either in college or fresh out are consistently more likely to have negative views of capitalism.
The man helming the Harvard study, John Della Volpe,did his best to make sense of the study, suggesting millennials aren’t really “rejecting the concept” of capitalism, they’re just rejecting “[t]he way in which capitalism is practiced today.”
What perhaps is most surprising is that the souring perspective on capitalism isn’t just a millennial phenomenon, slightly older generations are also losing their faith in capitalism. The only groups that have a majority positive opinion about capitalism are those over 50 years old. The results suggest that connotations with the term capitalism have shifted since the Cold War, the financial crisis likely darkening many Americans’ view of capitalism, which the Left has consistently blamed for the 2008 collapse.