January 2014 – POLITICS – Trust in government ranks at an all-time low of 44 percent, according to Edelman’s latest trust barometer survey of 27,000 people. The U.S. public’s trust in government tumbled 16 percent to 37 percent, France’s percentage fell 17 percent to 32 percent and Hong Kong’s level dipped 18 percent to 45 percent. Richard Edelman noted the findings represent a sea change from five years when business teamed with government to regain trust. He believes the private sector must compensate for the public’s distrust of government. Businesses, according to Edelman, “must lead the debate for change.” The Edelman CEO sees an opening for business to play a bigger role in the debate over regulation since nearly eight-in-ten respondents to the Barometer poll believe government should not work alone to set regulatory policy. He warns against over-reach. It would be “a huge error in judgment for businesses to push for deregulation as they did a decade ago, said Edelman.
Companies headquartered in the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries still suffer a trust deficit vis-à-vis their counterparts in the west. For instance, Indian companies scored a 35 percent trust rating and Chinese enterprises tallied a 36 percent score. Those marks trail Germany’s 80 percent rating and Switzerland’s 79 percent mark. There’s a huge trust gap in how people in the BRIC countries view their homegrown companies compared to the rest of the world. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of Chinese trust their native business, while non-Chinese give those companies a 36 percent rating. A mere 21 percent of Americans trust Chinese companies, according to the 2014 barometer, which is the independent firm’s 14th annual survey. –O’Dwyers