Trust Issues

Trust Issues

Trust Issues

“Capitalism is not a perfect system. It may be better than all other systems, but it is not a perfect system.”

Warren Buffet

Lots of people seemingly agree, at least with the not perfect part. According to an article by Julia LaRoche on Yahoo Finance, the just-released Edelman Trust Barometer suggests people are increasingly worried about their ability to cope with a fast-changing world. The survey – released to coincide with the 50th annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – queried 34,000 people from 28 countries about their level of trust in business, government, and the media. Some findings:

  • 82% say business must “pay everyone a decent wage,” but only 31% trust this will happen
  • 79% say business has responsibility to retrain employees whose jobs are lost to automation or disruption, but only 30% trust this will happen
  • 78% agree “regular people struggle just to pay their bills as elites get richer than they deserve”
  • 62% say work technology is “out of control”
  • And, the most widely held view of all:
    83% indicated concern about losing their jobs due to a recession, automation, or lack of skills

The survey found that 82% of Chinese respondents trust business, government, and the media. This seems a bit odd, especially considering that only 53% of American respondents say they trust these institutions. Perhaps Chinese government officials graciously filled out the Edelman Trust Barometer for their citizens!            

So what to do, as a contributor and, where applicable, as a leader?

As a contributor, recognize the changing reality and adapt. No news here – technology is accelerating, not going away. It’s more imperative than ever to develop transferable skills that the market values, and that cannot be performed by artificial intelligence or outsourced overseas. And to control your destiny to the extent you can by maximizing your contribution where you work. As a leader, here’s suggesting we need a capitalist model that’s more inclusive. One with a vision broader than serving the almighty return-oriented shareholder, and that includes employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. Survey respondents seem to agree, as 75% believe companies “can take actions that increase profits and improve the conditions in communities where [they] operate.” But someone must lead the way. How about each of us?

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