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Widespread Unease about Economy and Globalization - Global Poll

February 7, 2008

Most See Unfairness in Distribution of Benefits and Burdens of Economic Growth

Full Report (PDF)

BBC_ViewsCountries_Mar07_imgIn 22 out of 34 countries around the world, the weight of opinion is that "economic globalization, including trade and investment," is growing too quickly, according to a BBC World Service Poll of 34,500 people. On average one out of two (50%) hold this view, while 35 percent say globalization is growing too slowly.

In the G-7 countries - whose finance ministers are meeting this weekend - an average of 57 percent say globalization is growing too quickly.

Related to this unease is an even stronger view that the benefits and burdens of "the economic developments of the last few years" have not been shared fairly. Majorities in 27 out of 34 countries hold this view - on average 64 percent.

In developed countries, those who have this view of unfairness are more likely to say that globalization is growing too quickly - especially in France, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Japan, and Germany (and to a lesser extent Britain and the US).

In contrast, in some developing countries, those who perceive such unfairness are more likely to say globalization is proceeding too slowly. These include Turkey, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico and the countries of Central America.

Only 19 percent overall say globalization is growing much too quickly, while 32 percent say it is growing a bit too quickly. Steven Kull of PIPA comments, "Few want to slam the brakes on globalization, though many want to press the brakes lightly. Also, people in some developing countries still want to accelerate globalization and appear to believe that this will help break down some of the inequities in their country."

The survey was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between October 31, 2007 and January 25, 2008.

BBCEcon_Jan08_graph1.jpgThough interviews (except in India) were completed before the sharp fall in global stock markets in mid-January, there was already a predominant view that economic conditions were getting worse in their country (on average 52% worse, 41% better) as well as in the global economy (46% worse, 40% better).

GlobeScan President Doug Miller says, "There is real public unease about the direction of the economy, but it's not only about a downturn. It also has to do with how fairly benefits and burdens are shared, and the pace of globalization."

Other Highlights

Perceptions of domestic economic conditions vary widely. In ten countries, a majority perceives improvement (led by China 84%, Canada 72%, Australia 71%, UAE 69%, Russia 63%, and India 56%), while in twenty-one a majority perceives their country worsening (led by Italy 86%, the Philippines 76%, Indonesia 76%, USA 74%, and Portugal 72%).

The perception that the benefits and burdens of economic development have not been fairly distributed in their country is highest in South Korea (86%), Italy (84%), Portugal (84%), Japan (83%), Chile (82%), Lebanon (82%), and Turkey (82%).

In just six countries, majorities perceived their economy as fair - UAE (72%), Australia (58%), Canada (58%), China (58%), Ghana (53%), and Nigeria (53%).

The view that globalization is growing too quickly is especially widespread in Egypt (77%), UAE (77%), Australia (73%), China (72%), Spain (68%), and France (64%).

The only countries with majorities saying that globalization is growing too slowly are the Philippines (71%), Turkey (71%), Indonesia (53%), and Brazil (51%).

The correlation between the perception of economic fairness and attitudes about globalization varies across countries. In twelve countries the most common view is that the economy is unfair and that globalization is going too fast. This is primarily true of highly developed countries (France, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and to a lesser extent Britain and the US). However it is also true of Lebanon, Argentina, Israel and Chile.

However, in eight cases the most common view is both that the economy in their country is unfair and that globalization should be sped up. These include Turkey, the Philippines, Portugal, Indonesia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico and the countries of Central America.

In eight countries the most common view is that their economy is fair but that globalization is nonetheless moving too quickly. These include three developed countries--Australia, Canada and UAE; as well as five developing countries--Egypt, China, India, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Russians, widely agree that the economy has been unfair, but they are divided as to the pace of globalization.

In total 34,528 citizens in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UAE, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between October 31, 2007 and January 25, 2008. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In 16 of the 34 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.4 to 4.4 percent.


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