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People no longer believe working hard will lead to a better life, Survey shows

Many people no longer trust that working hard would lead to a better life, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, which is now in its 20th year.

According to a long-running global survey, a growing perception of inequality is hurting trust in both society’s institutions and capitalism.

Many people no longer trust that working hard would lead to a better life, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, which is now in its 20th year.

Despite significant economic growth, a majority of respondents in every developed economy predict they will be worse off in five years.

This indicates that, at least in developed markets, economic development no longer appears to be a driver of trust, contradicting popular thinking.

“We are living in a trust paradox,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman.

“Since we began measuring trust 20 years ago, economic growth has fostered rising trust. This continues in Asia and the Middle East but not in developed markets, where national income inequality is now the more important factor.

Long-held expectations about hard effort leading to upward mobility are being debunked, and fears are suffocating hope.

Growing “Distrust” between elites and public

Fifty-six percent of the global population polled believe capitalism in its current form causes more harm than good.

Automation, an impending recession, a lack of training, cheaper foreign competition, immigration, and the gig economy are all causing concern among employees worldwide (83 percent).

Fifty-seven percent of respondents are concerned about losing their country’s respect and dignity.

Nearly two-thirds of people believe that technological progress is moving too quickly. Australia has one of the steepest drops in technology trust.

The gig economy was the most concerning concern for Australians, followed by the recession, a lack of training, and international rivals.

According to Edelman, the survey also discovered a rising “trust chasm” between elites and the general people, which could be a reflection of wealth disparity.

He described the current situation as “an Alice in Wonderland moment of elite buoyancy and mass despair.”

While 65 percent of the global informed public (aged 25-65, university-educated, and in the top 25% of household income) stated they trust their institutions, just 51% of the general public (the remaining 83 percent of the global population) agreed.

“The result is a world of two different trust realities,” the report says.

“The informed public – wealthier, more educated, and frequent consumers of news – remain far more trusting of every institution than the mass population.

“In a majority of markets, less than half of the mass population trust their institutions to do what is right.

“There are now a record eight markets showing all-time-high gaps between the two audiences – an alarming trust inequality.”

In Australia, trust levels among the informed public were 68 percent, significantly higher than the 45 percent observed among the general public.