Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Trust in Corporate America

with one comment

Chris Cillizza’s recent Washington Post The Fix blog “Obama’s Populist Turn” ( notes that only 40% of Americans trust in corporate America to do what is right. That’s a low number, given that about half of Americans are employed by corporate America (depending on the definition of ‘corporate America’). It’d be instructive to look at trend data here.

Broadly speaking, though, it is corporate America that has most benefitted from the government’s largess in the last 18 months. Moreover, corporate America maintains close, often very close, relations with the government — and has for decades. (Robert Reich’s Supercapitalism contains an excellent history of this phonomenon, if a flawed interpretation of that history.)  Thomas Donlan’s excellent article in Barron’s this week explores the more recent manifestations of this cozy relationship:

My question is: does corporate America suffer, in the public’s perception, because of these close ties to the government? To look at the matter from another viewpoint, I’d bet that the public has much greater trust in small business, which has a less organized and formalized relationship with the government. Now, we may not be talking about causation here (close ties to goverment causes the public’s distrust of corporate America) and maybe not even correlation, but the notion of some possible connection struck me this week.


Written by Russell S.

October 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Ethics

One Response

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  1. The American public has no illusions. That’s why 80% of them see the government as being “run by a few big interests looking out for themselves,” and not “for the benefit of all the people.” <a href=""That's from the venerated Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

    Benjamin Seghers

    October 24, 2009 at 9:07 am

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