At the same time, Pakistan was grouped among nations whose people were hopeful of succeeding with hard work. “Half or more in 13 of the 21 nations surveyed believe that most people can succeed if they are willing to work hard. This includes Pakistan (81 per cent) and the US (77%). It also includes Tunisia (73%), Brazil (69%), India (67%) and Mexico (65%),” according to the survey, released by the US-based Pew Research Center on Thursday.
“In the wake of four years of economic turmoil around the world and political upheaval in a number of nations, very few people are satisfied with the way things are going in their country,” the survey said. In the 21 countries surveyed, it said only in China (82%), Germany (53%) and Egypt (53%), more than half of the population, do say they are content with their nation’s direction. And, among Egyptians, such sentiment is actually down 12 percentage points from 2011. “People are particularly gloomy in Greece (2%), Spain (10%), Italy (11%) and Pakistan (12%),” the survey finds. “Even in the US, only 29% of the public thinks things overall are going well.”
A median of just 27 per cent think their national economy is doing well, according to a survey in 21 countries by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. Only in China (83%), Germany (73%), Brazil (65%) and Turkey (57%) do most people report that current national economic conditions are good.
The poll said that public mood is quite volatile in many societies. Satisfaction with their countries’ direction is up 14 points in Russia and 10 points in Germany from last year, but down 13 points in India and nine points in Brazil. Looking further back, since 2007 positive views of the country’s direction have collapsed in Spain (down 41 points) and Pakistan (down 27).
The prolonged global economic slump has depressed the public mood about the economy, it said. In only four of 21 countries surveyed does a majority say their economy is doing well. The assessment is particularly rosy in China (83%) and Germany (73%), but also in Brazil (65%) and Turkey (57%). And it is particularly bad in Greece (2%), Italy (6%), Spain (6%), Japan (7%) and Pakistan (9%), according to the study.
Confidence in the economy is down 59 percentage points in Spain, 54 points in Britain, 50 points in Pakistan, 26 in Egypt, 19 in the US and 16 in Mexico in the last five years. Bucking this trend is Turkey, where those regarding the economy as good is up 11 points since the year before the crisis and Germany, up 10 points. Among those who think the economy is doing poorly, people in 16 of 21 countries fault their own government, some overwhelmingly so.
Particularly angry at their leadership are the Pakistanis (95% blame the government as a primary or secondary culprit), Indians (92%), the Mexicans (91%), the Japanese (91%), the Czechs (91%) and the Poles (90%), it said. A quarter or more blame the US for the situation in Egypt (32%), Pakistan (32%), Jordan (31%), Mexico (30%), Turkey (28%) and China (25%). “The public mood about the economy has worsened since 2008 in eight of 15 countries for which there is comparable data, while it is essentially unchanged in four others,” according to the study. The Chinese are the lone exception. They have been positive about their economy for the past decade, it said.
Less than a third of Americans (31%) say the US economy is doing well. That figure is up 13 percentage points from 2011. (But it is down 19 points from 2007, the year before the financial crunch began.) A median of just 16% of Europeans surveyed think their economy is performing up to par. That includes just 2% of the Greeks and 6% of the Spanish and Italians. Among Europeans, only the Germans (73%) give their economy a thumbs up. And just 7% of Japanese believe their economy is doing well.
People are, however, generally far more positive about their personal economic condition than they are about their nation’s economic situation, according to the study. A median of 52 percent in the 21 nations surveyed feel satisfied with their own circumstances. Americans are twice as likely to say their family finances are in good shape as they are to say that the national economic situation is good. There are larger differences in Britain and Japan, where those who rate their personal economic situation as good exceed the number who have positive views of the national economy by more than four-to-one. Only the Chinese are significantly more likely to say the national economy is doing better than their families’ finances.
And there is some optimism that things will improve in the next 12 months, especially in Brazil (84%), China (83%) and Tunisia (75%), the study said. “Nevertheless, pessimism about young peoples’ ability to do better than their parents is rampant, particularly in Europe (a median of only 9% think it will be easy) and Japan (10%). Again, the lone exception is China, where 57% say it will be easy for their children to become wealthier or to get a better job.” “There is a striking contrast between the economic outlook in four of the emerging markets surveyed – Brazil, China, India and Turkey – and the European Union and the US. People living in these economies are generally more likely than Americans or Europeans to say that they are doing better than their parents,” according to the study.
“In contrast, economic attitudes are particularly gloomy in the four nations polled in the Arab world. Only a third of those surveyed think they are better off than their parents at the same age. A median of only 30% say they are doing well financially. And a median of only 16% believe their children will have an easy time becoming economically better off than themselves,” it said.
“Tough times have undermined the work ethic in a number of countries among people who are suffering economically. Those who say their personal finances are a mess are far less likely than those who are doing well to believe that most people succeed if they work hard.
“The global economic crisis has eroded support for capitalism. In 11 of the 21 nations surveyed, half or fewer now agree with the statement that people are better off in a free market economy even though some people are rich and some are poor. And such backing is down in 9 of 16 nations with comparable data since 2007, before the Great Recession began. Such disenchantment is particularly acute in Italy (where support for a free market economy is down 23 percentage points), Spain (20 points) and Poland (15 points)”.