Survey Shows Global Distrust Of Big Business

By Agence France-Presse Big business ranks as the least-trusted institution in the world alongside national legislative bodies, according to an international public opinion poll recently released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), an independent social policy organization based in Geneva. About 52% of the 36,000 people questioned in 47 countries said they had little or no trust in large national companies, while 48% distrusted multinational firms, the poll found. Fifty-one percent of those polled distrusted their national legislatures, but elected officials had greater credibility in Europe, North America and parts of Asia. The survey measured levels of trust in the ability of each institution to act in the best interest of society. It revealed that people have as much faith in trade unions and the media as in their governments, with about 47% to 50% of those polled saying they had some or a lot of trust in those institutions. The World Trade Organization (WTO) achieved a middle ranking, summoning little or no trust among 39% of respondents, and trust with 44%. A clear majority of people trust non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the United Nations, their health and education systems, police forces and the army. "Unless traditional institutions regenerate public trust, people will continue to search for new ways forward," comments Doug Miller, Environics International Ltd., Toronto, one of the pollsters behind the survey. "The real cost of inaction may be greater system instability and a growing mandate for NGOs and new political parties." The survey was conducted by Gallup International. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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