Two items in the Wall Street Journal. An editorial notes that the Chinese top the world in their support for market capitalism.
In a poll conducted for the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes between June and August last year, fully 74% of Chinese citizens said they agreed with the statement "the free enterprise system and free market economy is the best system on which to base the future of the world." The Philippines, at 73%, and the U.S., at 71%, were second and third. The poll, which surveyed 20,791 people in 20 countries, seems like a pretty good snapshot of current sentiment, as such things go.
...Fully half of the French disagreed that capitalism is the best way forward. Italians and Spaniards were more supportive of Adam Smith's ideals, with 59% and 63%, respectively, voting for free markets.
At lunch last week, Tyler Cowen and I both expressed pessimism about China. Our view is that the state appears to control too much capital. However, those pro-capitalist beliefs could turn out to be a real asset.
The Gallup Poll's annual survey on government found that 27% of Americans are conservative; 24% are liberal, up sharply because the poll was taken after Katrina, which boosted support for the proposition that "government should do more to solve our country's problems." Gallup also found -- this year as in others -- that 20% are neither liberal nor conservative but libertarian, opposing the use of government either to "promote traditional values" or to "do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses." Another 20% are "populist" (supporting government action in both areas), with 10% undefined. Libertarian support, spread across demographic groups, is strongest among well-educated voters.
The last sentence, particularly, caught my eye. Relative to a recent Caplan-Kling dispute, it lends to support to my co-blogger.