- The Harris Poll and Just Capital, an independent research firm founded by the billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, surveyed 1,000 people on their thoughts about capitalism amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Only 25% of respondents said they believed that our current form of capitalism ensures the greater good of society.
- More Americans are calling for reform, such as higher wages for hourly and contract employees, as well as health insurance for all workers.
- This post is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
More people are calling capitalism into question amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey shows.
In May, the Harris Poll and Just Capital, an independent research firm founded by the billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, surveyed 1,000 people on their thoughts about capitalism amid the pandemic. Only 25% of respondents said they believed our current form of capitalism ensures the greater good of society.
For many this doesn’t come as a surprise. Prominent voices ranging from a top Harvard economist to the billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio have warned that capitalism would soon face a crisis because of the massive inequality exposed by the pandemic.
Temporary hazard pay has shown how little grocery employees, food-delivery workers, and other essential workers are being paid (not to mention that many don’t get health insurance). The national closure of childcare centres also laid bare the unpaid work women do in the household. Black people, specifically Black women, were most at risk of layoffs and furloughs, and were less likely to survive (pay for groceries or rent) without work, according to research from Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit.
The crisis that business leaders have been warning about has arrived. Now the majority of Americans are calling for change, including paid sick leave and higher wages for frontline workers, the data shows.
Some 70% of respondents said they thought companies should offer at least 14 days of paid sick leave to all employees, including hourly and contract workers, instead of going back to more limited leave. And 67% said they believed that companies should keep in place higher hourly pay for employees of essential businesses (for example, grocery- and convenience-store workers), rather than go back to the lower hourly pay rate in place before the pandemic.
“Americans are looking for companies to take the lead on key policy issues like paid sick leave, paid family leave, wage increases, healthcare, and increased flexibility to work from home,” the report said.
The poll also indicated that companies would remember how businesses treated their employees during these difficult times. A whopping 84% said they would remember the companies that did the right thing by their workers by ensuring their health and safety, or by doing their best to avoid layoffs.
This echoes the words of billionaire Mark Cuban, who said that millennials and Gen Zers would send a company’s brand “straight into the toilet” if its leaders lay off employees during the pandemic.
“Americans overwhelmingly agree that we as a society need to use this crisis as an opportunity to fix what’s broken and find a better way of living,” the report said.