by Pan Pylas
January 20, 2014
Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic
Forum, WEF, gestures during a press conference, in
Cologny near Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan.
Economic Forum unveiled the program for
its annual meeting in Davos,
Switzerland, including the key participants, themes
the war in Syria
and getting the world economy back on track will be
the focus of next week's gathering of world leaders
and power brokers in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron)
Trust in elected leaders has fallen sharply, a
global survey revealed Monday, citing,
the protracted budget battle in
Washington that nearly saw the U.S. default on its debts
Europe's stuttering response to its debt
...as key reasons for the drop.
Ahead of the gathering of political and business leaders in the Swiss resort
of Davos, the
public relations firm Edelman found that
only 44 percent of university-educated people participating in the survey
trusted government, down 4 percentage points from the previous year.
As recently as 2011, trust in politicians stood
at 52 percent.
2014 Edelman Trust Barometer found the
largest-ever gap in its 14-year history - 14 points - between trust in
government and trust in business.
"This is a profound evolution in the
landscape of trust from 2009, where business had to partner with
government to regain trust," agency CEO Richard Edelman said.
He warned that sinking trust in government could
stoke a rise in support for more extreme political parties, particularly in
May's election for the European Parliament.
The U.S. saw a dramatic 16 percentage point fall in the level of political
trust to 37 percent, which Edelman attributed to a number of factors,
the debt ceiling standoff in Congress
the revelations of widespread snooping
by the National Security Agency
the calamitous start of President
Barack Obama's health reform website
In Europe, the numbers were similarly
dispiriting for elected leaders.
One country that saw plunging trust in government was France, where there's
growing concern over the inability of President Francois Hollande's
government to get the economy going. According to the survey, only 32
percent in France trust government, down 17 percentage points.
Yet business leaders shouldn't be too relieved, Edelman cautioned.
Even though the overall level of trust in business held steady at 58
percent, the survey found that of the eight groups it monitored, only
government officials were trusted less than CEOs - and both groups were the
only ones distrusted by a majority of respondents.
The most trusted group was academics, followed
by technical experts and regular employees.
According to the survey, 84 percent of the respondents believed that
business can pursue its own self-interest while doing work that promotes
society as a whole.
Edelman said, however, that business should not
view that as an opportunity to push for more deregulation - a move that many
blame for causing the 2008 financial crisis.
"That would be a huge error in judgment,"
Concerns over business' ability to self-regulate
have been renewed by,
The online survey queried 27,000 people in 27
countries, and broke down results between the general population and a
smaller sample of university-educated people.
It was conducted last year between Oct. 16 and
Nov. 29, 2013.