Global Contentment on the Rise

by Roger Alford

The Pew Research Center has just published a wonderful survey on rising contentment in the developing world. According to the survey those surveyed in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are more satisfied with the state of the nation than those surveyed in Europe and the United States. “Throughout much of the world, rising incomes are improving national conditions and increasing life satisfaction. While people in rich countries generally remain happier with their lives, the rest of the world is catching up, and looking into the future, people from poor and middle income countries are the most likely to think their quality of life will improve in the coming years. Citizens from these countries are also the most likely to favor the key tenets of economic globalization, welcoming both international trade and multinational corporations.” Just take a look at this table:

In addition, the survey also reveals that people in the developing world are the most enthusiastic about globalization and international trade. “[N]o one is more enthusiastic about economic globalization than the citizens of lower income countries. Growth in these countries is generally more modest than in middle income nations, and they have not experienced the same large increases in personal well-being. But, while they have not yet fully benefited from participation in a global economy, they welcome global commerce and investment – trade and foreign companies receive their highest marks in some of the poorest countries in Africa and Asia. Throughout the world, people have worries about globalization – its effects on tradition and national culture, its impact on the environment, its potential for adding to the gap between rich and poor – but low income publics clearly embrace its key economic features, despite the downsides.” This graph is particularly revealing on that score, with the United States among the most pessimistic about trade, and countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East among the most optimistic (click to enlarge):

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