We are living in an era of backlash against authority. So far, government and the media have borne the brunt of populist anger, while businesses have remained above the fray. Past protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street notwithstanding, mass outrage has yet to be directed squarely at the business elite. But there are signs that this is changing.
For 17 years the Edelman Trust Barometer has surveyed tens of thousands of people across dozens of countries about their level of trust in business, media, government, and NGOs. This year was the first time the study found a decline in trust across all four of these institutions. In almost two-thirds of the 28 countries we surveyed, the general population did not trust the four institutions to “do what is right” — the average level of trust in all four institutions combined was below 50%.