- On both sides of the Atlantic both Britons and Americans are clear that certain groups of people deserve their wealth, and certain groups very much don’t. Although Britons have stronger feelings, both about the deserving and the undeserving, than their American counterparts.
- In general, we have a favourable view of people involved in making or inventing things – perhaps because we can see the value they deliver in our everyday lives.
- High-skilled scientists and engineers were seen as the most deserving of their wealth by both Britons and Americans, followed by inventors of new products and services. Very few people – less than one in ten – think these groups do not deserve their wealth.
- Perhaps surprisingly, top sports stars and Hollywood actors and directors did not fare well. Only about a quarter see their riches as merited.
- Definitely not surprising given people’s views of the financial crisis (see polling on the crash), senior bankers are seen as the least deserving of their wealth in both the UK and America. Less than one in five Britons and less than a third of Americans think they deserve to be wealthy. But whereas six in ten Britons told YouGov that the wealth of senior bankers is undeserved, the proportion of Americans thinking the same was significantly lower at four in ten.
- People do not see chief executives of large firms as quite as undeserving as bankers, but they certainly don’t see them as deserving. Just one in three Britons think they deserve their wealth and around one in four Americans do. This fits with the high proportion of people who think big businesses behave badly. Addressing CEO pay was one of the key issues identified as needing action by Ruth Davidson MSP, in her essay for UnHerd.
Read the other three key findings in this series:
- Brits and Americans pessimistic about their future wealth, safety and happiness;
- Tech giants seen as more good than bad (especially in USA);
- Massive majorities say culprits of 2008 crash have gone unpunished
1,859 American adults and 1,718 Britons were polled by YouGov for UnHerd.com, beginning 17 July 2017.
We published the results of the survey’s findings on the news industry last week.