Democracy rests on trust. So do all other forms of government to some degree.
I came across the 2020 Edelman Trust Report. It contains some startling and worrying findings.
It can be found here
It is worth reading in full.
If the world is to cope with Covid and the economic situation, it needs leadership that people are prepared to trust.
The Trust Report tells a truly alarming story for those of us who believe in liberal democracy.
The average level of trust in government in the world is only 49%, but the alarming thing is that there is more trust in government in some autocratic states than there is in democratic ones.
Against a global average of 49% trust in government, 90% of Chinese and 78% of Saudi Arabians told Edelman that they trust their government. In Europe the trust in national governments ranges from a high of 59% in Netherlands to 45% in Germany, 41% in Ireland , 36% in the UK, 35% in France, 33% in Russia, down to a mere 30%. Interestingly in India, also a democracy, trust in government is 81%. Interestingly 61% of Irish people trust the EU, which is well ahead of the level of trust in their national government,
The Survey results suggest that income inequality contributes more to a loss of trust than does insufficient economic growth. But levels on income inequality in India and China are quite high so that is not a sufficient explanation.
There is a slightly higher level of trust in institutions among those with more education.
But it is not just government that is distrusted in western countries. On average overall, 49% of global respondents say they trust the media, but trust in the media is only 37% in Ireland and France. Yet 80% of the Chinese trust their media! Given that the Chinese trust their government so much, perhaps it is not surprising that they also trust their government controlled media.
Business is trusted somewhat more than either governments or media are- 58% as against 49%. But again there are stark contrasts.
82% of Indians and Chinese people trust business, as against only 35% of Russians, 48% of Germans and Irish, and 57% of Italians.
It would be worthwhile to dig more deeply into Edelman’s findings!