CSC Releases New Data: Capitalism Barometer Finds Americans Are Dissatisfied with Capitalism

March 16, 2023

March 16, 2023
For immediate release

WINSTON SALEM, NC  – A survey of American views on capitalism finds widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of the economic system, but that dissatisfaction does not translate into Americans preferring something different. Instead, many respondents report they want the economy to become more free market oriented. The survey of 1,600 adults was conducted by the Center for the Study of Capitalism at Wake Forest University School of Business. 

“Overall, 65 percent of respondents said they were likely to support capitalism, but only 20 percent said the economy is working well or that they are satisfied with capitalism,” said Dr. Christina Elson, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Capitalism. “The difference between younger generations and older generations is significant, with Millennials and Gen Z  showing more dissatisfaction than Gen X and Baby Boomers.” 

“We found concerns that the government and markets are not doing enough to address healthcare, education, housing, and social service and the government may be too involved in areas such as technology development,” said Elson. 

Respondents are categorized as promoters, passives, or detractors. Akin to marketing lingo, promoters are having a positive experience and are likely to recommend a company, product, or service to others while passives and detractors are having a negative experience and may be looking to make a change. Overall, 23 percent of respondents were categorized as promoters, 25 percent did not have an opinion, and 52 percent were categorized as detractors. 

Lack of support for capitalism did not translate into support for another system. In total 51 percent of respondents over the age of 42 and 45 percent of respondents aged 18-41 believe the economic system should become more free market oriented, especially in certain sectors such as technology development.

Older Americans, male, white, highly educated, married, Republican, registered voters, and non-religious people are  significantly more likely to be supporters. Women, people with low levels of political interest, and church attendees are significantly more likely to be detractors. 

Find the full results of the survey at the Center for the Study of Capitalism’s website.

Media Contact: Danyelle Gary McClinton,, 336-582-0622