New CIS Research: Ill-informed Millennials prefer socialism to capitalism

Tom Switzer, Charles Jacobs

20 June 2018 | MEDIA RELEASE

A majority of Australian Millennials have a favourable view of socialism as an ideology, a CIS/YouGov Galaxy poll has found. The number of Millennials who responded they viewed Socialism favourably was more than three times the number who had an unfavourable view.

In addition, almost two thirds agreed that “Capitalism has failed and government should exercise more control of the economy”.

The poll results, released in the CIS paper Millennials and socialism: Australian youth are lurching to the left, also paint a view of frightening ignorance among young voters, authors Tom Switzer and Charles Jacobs say.

“Fewer than one in three Millennials is aware Australia spends significantly more on health and education than we did ten years ago,” Switzer says. “More than half believe spending has actually fallen.

“An even greater percentage believe workers are worse off now than they were 40 years ago.

“This fundamental misunderstanding of Australia’s economic and fiscal position is deeply concerning.”

Switzer says the poll results are also a clear sign that Australian Millennials have a limited knowledge of the 20th century’s bloody and botched experiments with socialism”.

“The vast majority of Millennials (73%) were familiar with the history of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, however only 21% were familiar with Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong,” he says.

Switzer and Jacobs argue that this lack of awareness could be leading Millennials to view socialism through a rose-tinted lens.

“Communism and socialism were responsible for the deaths of up to 100 million people in the 20th century – as many as both world war combined.

“It is important to educate people on its brutal history, in order that socialism’s flawed promises of wealth redistribution and equality are not confused with its horrific practical shortcomings.”

Tom Switzer is Executive Director at the Centre for Independent Studies. Charles Jacobs is a Policy Analyst in the Future of Work program.

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