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Survey: Pervasive gloom about world economy
NEW YORK—The economic sentiment is “exceedingly glum” all around the world as the public mood has worsened since 2008, with the global economic crisis “widely eroding” support for capitalism. A Pew Research Centre survey of people in 21 countries made public Wednesday also said there is a “striking” contrast in economic outlook between emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and Turkey and the industrially developed EU and the US. “People living in emerging economies…are more upbeat than Americans and Europeans on whether they think economic conditions in their countries are good…and about the future of their children,” the surveys, conducted last spring among 26,210 respondents, showed.
Meanwhile, economists said that since then the global economic outlook has become even more worrisome as many indicators of economic activity have deteriorated in recent months. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said last week that the organisation’s updated assessment of the world economy to be released July 16 will be “(worse) than we anticipated just three months ago.” According to the Pew Research surveys, while less than a third of Americans say the US economy is doing well, among Europeans only the Germans (73 per cent) give their economy thumbs up. In Asia, just seven per cent of Japanese think their economy is doing well. By contrast, the Chinese are the most upbeat, being positive about their economy for the past decade. “The Chinese, in particular, are quite positive about their economic situation,” with 92 per cent of those surveyed in China saying they are better off than the previous generation and 83 per cent satisfied with current national economic conditions.
Also, 70 per cent feel they are financially more prosperous than they were five years ago and 69 per cent are happy with their personal economic circumstances, the survey showed. The survey’s results in China are not nationally representative, however, as the sample is disproportionally urban and represented about two-thirds of the nation’s adult population. In the 21 countries surveyed, only in China, Germany and Egypt do more than half of respondents say they are content with their nation’s direction, although among Egyptians such sentiment is actually down 12 percentage points from 2011, when 65 per cent were positive. Among those who think the economy is doing poorly, people in 16 countries primarily fault their own government, “some overwhelmingly so”, the surveys showed. Particularly angry at their leadership are the Pakistanis (95 per cent blame the government), Indians (92 per cent), Mexicans (91 per cent), Japanese (91 per cent), Czechs (91 per cent) and Poles (90 per cent).
Banks and financial institutions were frequently seen as the culprit behind the poor performance of national economies, including Spain (78 per cent) and France and Germany (74 per cent each). The surveys also found that the global economic crisis has eroded support for capitalism. In 11 countries, half or less now agree with the statement that people are better off in a free market economy. Such disenchantment is “particularly acute” in Italy, Spain and Poland. Support for capitalism is greatest in Brazil, China, Germany and the US. The biggest sceptics of the free market are in Mexico and Japan. The margin of error, which differs from country to country, is between plus or minus 3.2 and 5.2 percentage points for each survey. (AP)
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