We are living in an era of backlash against authority. So far, government and the media have borne the brunt of populist anger, while businesses have remained above the fray. Despite past protest movements such as “occupy Wall St,” mass outrage has yet to be directed squarely at the business elite. But there are new indications that this might be about to change.
For 17 years, the Edelman TRUST BAROMETER has performed annual surveys of tens of thousands of people across dozens of countries about their level of trust in business, media, government and NGOs. This year was the first time the study saw a decline in trust across all four institutions. In almost two-thirds of the 28 countries we surveyed, the general population does not trust the four institutions to “do what is right,” putting them squarely in the distruster camp, meaning the average level of their trust in all four institutions combined is below 50 percent.
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Matthew Harrington is Edelman’s global chief operating officer.