Economic upheavals almost inevitably have political consequences. The Wall Street crash of 1929 and the global economic collapse that came in its wake pushed the world towards anti-capitalist and totalitarian ideologies such as communism and fascism.
But when the noxious combination of high inflation and low growth in the 1970s destroyed the post-War social democratic consensus, most countries chose free markets over state intervention. This was the era of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping.
We are now in the midst of another economic disruption. Should businessmen get ready for an anti-business backlash?
A global survey by PR firm Edelman had reported in January that there had been a “devastating” loss of public trust in business. An update released on Thursday reports that such trust has recovered “significantly”.
India topped the charts, with the highest levels of public trust in business. China came next. That’s good news, because we need private enterprise to power economic growth in the years ahead.