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Influence of large corporations on government too strong, survey says

By Mario Cywinski |

People believe that large national and multi-national companies have too much influence on government and there should be a more aggressive crack-down on their activities, according to a survey of the most engaged and weathy citizens in the world.

Seventy-four per cent of people believed "large companies have too much influence on the decisions of their government," a recent Ipsos-Reid poll of residents of 22 top-economical countries has found.

Broken down regionally, Latin Americans are the most likely to agree with the above statement at 83 per cent, with Argentina topping the list at 85 per cent. North Americans are next at 81 per cent (with Canada at 80 per cent), followed by Europeans at 73 per cent and rounding out the list are those polled from Asia-Pacific at 70 per cent.

While large companies have a lot of influence, a large portion of those polled believe that the influence is the result of many of these companies being more powerful than any government.

The poll showed that 69 per cent of respondents and 77 per cent of Canadians believed that large companies are more powerful than any one government. Sparking the debate of whether their power should be reduced by the ruling government of any given country.

When asked if governments should be more aggressive in regulating the everyday activities of large national and multinational corporations, 72 per cent agreed they should.

Regionally, a whopping 86 per cent of Latin Americans say their government should regulate what large companies do, with Argentina once again on top at 87 per cent. This compares to only 67 per cent of residents of the Asia-Pacific region, with Japan being at 42 per cent.

Further showing that people would like companies to be heavily regulated and their power striped is the fact that 58 per cent of those polled and 65 per cent of Canadians believe that governments should have full access to private records of companies doing business within their country.

However, while many believe that the government should regulate big business, not all believe that governments should be the ones to control it.

Only 52 per cent of people believe that the government should control big business, the other 48 per cent believe it should be controlled by other means. Broken down, 85 per cent of Russians think that big business should be regulated by the government, and 73 per cent of Brazilians believe they should not.

It is believed that many large corporations set up shop in Third world countries, simply to save money. In North America and Europe, the rights of workers are a top priority and for this unions are a huge help. As a result only 42 per cent of respondents said there is too little government regulation to protect the rights of workers. Forty per cent believe it is about right, and 18 per cent think it is too much.

In Latin American, where the rights of workers are a lower priority, 68 per cent believe the governments need to increase the amount of regulation. Respondents in Asia-Pacific and Europe both came in with 51 per cent wanting more regulation.

Finally, the poll point out that even with all the negative publicity big business has received, 55 per cent of people world wide and 49 per cent of Canadians believe that big business has a good influence. Singapore and India are the most likely to agree with 87 and 83 per cent of respondents in those countries agreeing.

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