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Neoliberalism Around the World

Where on planet Earth do the most neoliberal people live? In what countries is the belief most prevalent that free market capitalism is working just fine? What national populations shun the notion that the state should distribute wealth more evenly and take an active role in owning and controlling major industries? On the other side of the spectrum, in what countries is socialist ideology the strongest? Where around the world are calls the loudest for government to spread wealth and nationalize industry? Exactly where does that idea come from that free market capitalism is fatally flawed and must be replaced by another entirely different system? A recent poll conducted by the BBC sheds some light as to which countries hold the most neoliberal views and which the least.

Who are the most fervent supporters of capitalism in its current incarnation? This will come as no surprise: Americans. A little more surprising is to find out that the next in line are Pakistanis. The rest of the list is as follows:

3. Japan
4. Czech Republic
5. Philippines
6. Poland
7. Germany
8. Australia
9. Canada
10. China
11. Egypt
12. United Kingdom
13. India

On the right hand side of the spectrum, it is noteworthy the prevalence of English-speaking nations (US, Australia, Canada, UK) and their former colonies (Pakistan, Philippines, Egypt, India). Support for free market capitalism is also strong in the Germanic-Slavic region (Czech Republic, Poland, Germany) and in East Asia (China, Japan).

Also unsurprising is to find that the region that gave us Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende, Hugo Chavez, the theology of liberation, XXI century socialism, and el subcomandante Marcos, is where socialist notions are most deeply ingrained. Number one is right across the border from Milton Friedman’s birthplace: Mexico. The rest, in order of strength of socialist fervor, follow:

2. Italy
3. Chile
4. France
5. Brazil
6. Spain
7. Ukraine
8. Panama
9. Costa Rica
10. Nigeria
11. Turkey

Very well represented in this list are speakers of Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese) though countries outside this cultural-linguistic group are also present: Ukraine, Nigeria, and Turkey.

What does all this mean in terms of the new multipolar era that is dawning? On the left, it seems quite straightforward: Latin countries in the Americas and Europe are grouping to voice their vision of a social state. On the right, the old British Empire seems to be holding together, though geographically dispersed, through a commonality of language and ideology. Other capitalist poles center in northern Europe and East Asia.

And where are the Russians in this scheme, you may ask. They seem either confused or extremely moderate, take your pick. Perhaps they may form their own pole or act as the needle of the balance between different forces.

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