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World News | Businesses are most trusted in a polarized world, report says

World News | Businesses are most trusted in a polarized world, report says

LONDON, Jan. 16 (AP) — People are more pessimistic than ever about their economic prospects and are more pessimistic than governments, nonprofits and the media in an increasingly divided world, according to a survey by public relations firm Edelman. Other institutions trust businesses more.

The online poll, which was conducted in 28 countries and released late Sunday to coincide with this week’s gathering of the World Economic Forum’s business elite and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland, showed that Fewer people think their families will be better off in five years.

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Those who think they will be better off fell to 40% from 50% last year and hit record lows in 24 countries. That’s because 89 percent fear losing their jobs, 74 percent fear inflation, 76 percent fear climate change, and 72 percent fear nuclear war.

The Edelman Trust Barometer also said that 62 percent of respondents believe business is both competent and ethical, compared to 59 percent for non-government organizations, 51 percent for government organizations and 51 percent for media organizations. One ratio is 50%. This is due to how companies are treating workers and returning to offices during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as many businesses vowing to pull out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

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People still say they distrust CEOs, as well as government leaders and journalists, and instead trust their own company executives, colleagues and neighbors. 76% of respondents trust scientists the most.

“Trust in business continues to grow, and CEOs expect more than ever to take a leading role on social issues,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “Six to one, respondents expect Businesses have more social engagement on issues like climate change, economic inequality and workforce reskilling.”

But he said companies face intense debate for dabbling in these topics, with 52 percent saying businesses cannot avoid politicization when addressing divisive societal issues.

Despite the uncertainty, people want companies to stand up for them: 63 percent say they buy or embrace brands based on their beliefs and values.

Most respondents said businesses should be doing more, not less, to tackle climate change, economic inequality and other issues.

Surveys suggest this is because social divisions have become entrenched, creating a polarized world where people feel they cannot overcome their differences, or are even willing to help those who do not share their beliefs.

Less than a third of respondents said they would help, live or work with someone whose views strongly disagree with them. Six countries — Argentina, Colombia, the United States, South Africa, Spain and Sweden — were listed as severely polarized due to distrust in government and lack of a common identity.

If differences are not resolved, there are fears that the outcome will fuel prejudice and discrimination, slower economic development and street violence, the report said.

More than 40% of respondents believe that governments and companies must work together to solve social problems, and that the most trusted institutions—businesses—have a responsibility to bring people together.

A majority of respondents (64%) say that companies that support politicians and media outlets in building consensus will help improve civility and strengthen society.

In its 23rd year, the Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed more than 32,000 people online from November 1 to November 28 in 28 countries, including Argentina, Saudi Arabia and the United States. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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