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Capitalism has been the most dynamic force for economic progress in history. Over the past century, it has delivered billions of people out of miserable poverty, raised living standards to once-unimaginable heights and enabled an unprecedented flourishing of productive creativity. But among young Americans, it finds itself on trial.
The University of Chicago's GenForward Survey of Americans age 18 to 34 finds that 62 percent think "we need a strong government to handle today's complex economic problems," with just 35 percent saying "the free market can handle these problems without government being involved."
Overall, 49 percent in this group hold a favorable opinion of capitalism — and 45 percent have a positive view of socialism. Socialism gets higher marks than capitalism, though, from Hispanics, Asian-Americans and African-Americans. Sixty-one percent of Democrats take a positive view of socialism — and so do 25 percent of Republicans.
Contrast the millennials' opinions with those of their parents. A survey last year found that only 26 percent of baby boomers would prefer to live in a socialist country. Among young people, the figure was 44 percent.