Friday, February 15, 2008

How trustworthy would you say oil companies are?

What's less popular than almost anything? Big business. Robert Weissman has the numbers at the Multinational Monitor Editor's Blog:
A November 2007 Harris poll found that less than 15 percent of the population believes each of the following industries to be "generally honest and trustworthy:" tobacco companies (3 percent); oil companies (3 percent); managed care companies such as HMOs (5 percent); health insurance companies (7 percent); telephone companies (10 percent); life insurance companies (10 percent); online retailers (10 percent); pharmaceutical and drug companies (11 percent); car manufacturers (11 percent); airlines (11 percent); packaged food companies (12 percent); electric and gas utilities (15 percent). Only 32 percent of adults said they trusted the best-rated industry about which Harris surveyed, supermarkets.
Despite decades of unremitting propaganda for deregulation of pretty much everything, small majorities favored increased regulation of oil, pharmaceutical, and health insurance companies. Weissman adds,
These are remarkable numbers. It is very hard to get this degree of agreement about anything. By way of comparison, 79 percent of adults believe the earth revolves around the sun; 18 percent say it is the other way around.
I wouldn't necessarily draw specific policy proposals from these numbers, but it's interesting how rarely the opinions of most Americans penetrate the media bubble, even in an election year.

4 comments:

JB Powers said...

Let's see,

1) Tobacco Companies, state-owned industry, impossible to start competitor.

2) Oil Companies about 40% state owned, hugely regulated from drilling to retail.

3) Managed Care, Insurance etc nearly impossible to start competitive business.

list goes on...

This is a deregulated business environment?

While in Illinois, Tony Rezko brokers pension regulation, Stuart Levine regulates healthcare facilities, Chris Kelley regulates gambling, who in their right mind is in favor of more regulation?

jbp

Harold said...

To answer your question, John, a majority of those polled.

For purposes of this post, we're talking about public opinion, not the merits of any particular case. I would agree in general that most folks don't foresee how state regulation can sometimes combine the worst of capitalism and the worst of socialism. The idea that it always does so is mere dogma, however.

Paul Botts said...

That exchange seems to amount to dueling straw men.

JB Powers said...

Public opinion also supports more car crashes at Nascar Races. It really doesn't tell us much about the sensibility of the opinion held.

The media is almost completely lacking in its analysis of what regulation has brought us.

Yes, corporates spout out propaganda for regulation that favors incumbents, but despite some huge trials going on there is very little out there on what mob run regulators like the Illinois Healthcare Facilities have brought us.

JBP