The Views of Gen Z on Capitalism

Generation Z.

Lots of discussions are doing the rounds regarding the opinions of Generation Z about capitalism. (Image: Designer491 via Dreamstime)

Lots of discussions are doing the rounds regarding the opinions of Gen Z about capitalism.

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z or Generation Z, colloquially also known as zoomers, is the demographic cohort succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha. Researchers and popular media use the mid-to-late 1990s as starting birth years and the early 2010s as ending birth years. Most members of Gen Z are children of Gen X.

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As the first social generation to have grown up with access to the Internet and portable digital technology from a young age, members of Gen Z have been dubbed “digital natives.” Compared to previous generations, members of Gen Z in some developed nations tend to be well-behaved, abstemious, and risk-averse.

They tend to live more slowly than their predecessors when they were their age, have lower rates of teenage pregnancies, and consume alcohol less often. Gen Z teenagers are more concerned than older generations with academic performance and job prospects and are better at delaying gratification than their counterparts from the 1960s, despite concerns to the contrary.

Generation Z
As the first social generation to have grown up with access to the Internet and portable digital technology from a young age, members of Gen Z have been dubbed ‘digital natives.’ (Image: Mirko Vitali via Dreamstime)

Gen Z on capitalism

As the next generation’s attitudes toward economic systems evolve, politicians and business leaders alike should pay attention.

A majority of Gen Z Americans hold negative views of capitalism, as even the number of young Republicans holding positive views of capitalism has dropped by double digits, new polling shows.

The new survey data showed that 54 percent of Gen Z (ages 18 to 24) hold negative views of capitalism. Meanwhile, just 42 percent of the young generation view capitalism favorably.

Overall, the majority of Americans still hold favorable views of capitalism — coming in at 57 percent. Comparatively, just 36 percent had negative views of capitalism, while 7 percent said they were unsure.

Positive views of capitalism declined sharply among young Republicans. When a similar survey was conducted in 2019, 81 percent of Republicans ages 18 to 34 said they had positive views of the prevailing economic system. However, that number fell by 15 percent in the latest survey to just 66 percent.

While positive views of capitalism appear to be dropping, favorable views of socialism have moved upward somewhat. Back in 2019, a similar poll found that 39 percent of respondents viewed socialism positively. The new survey showed that percent ticked upward two points, to 41 percent.

The survey additionally found that two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans believe the government should pursue policies that address economic inequality and reduce the growing gap between the wealthy and the less well-off.

That number ticked upward by four points compared to 2019, when it stood at 62 percent. A majority (56 percent) of young Republicans (18 to 34) said they believe the government should work to reduce the wealth gap as well.

Generation Z
A majority of Gen Z Americans hold negative views of capitalism. (Image: Mariia Symchych Navrotska via Dreamstime)

How they see the world

Young people who belong to Gen Z may be more predisposed to socialism than previous generations as a result of the way they see the world. In a recent poll of its Gen Z readers by VICE, some 86 percent said they think the future will be characterized by worsening climate disasters; 68 percent said they believe economic problems will grow more pronounced, and 63 percent said they expect to see more global conflicts in their lifetimes.

And they don’t expect the adults in charge to do anything to help — the majority of Gen Z respondents said they had “zero trust” in the country’s leadership.

Support for socialism may boil down to a mood, or a structure of feeling, rather than a politics to adopt wholesale, for members of Gen Z. This might be proof that socialism has become synonymous with a love of justice and a desire for positive social change rather than an ideological position.

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