Africans and Asians Tend to View Globalization Favorably; Europeans and Americans are More Skeptical
November 7, 2006
Seven in ten Africans view globalization favorably, making the world’s poorest continent the most positive on the benefits of greater integration, says Gallup International. In contrast, less than a third of Americans and Europeans believe globalization helps their country.
The Voices of the People 2006, which covers public opinion in 64 countries, found that on average 38 percent of the world considers globalization good for their country, 15 percent believe it is bad and 31 percent say it is neither good nor bad. The interviews were conducted July -September 2006.
Attitudes vary widely between continents and countries, with poorer countries tending to see the benefits of international integration while richer countries put greater emphasis on the costs. But the most common view in all regions is that the process tends to favor the wealthy. Overall, 58 percent of those surveyed think that the rich benefit more. This feeling is especially strong in Western Europe (76%) and weakest in Eastern and Central Europe (40%).
Africa is where respondents are most likely to say globalization is a “good thing” for their country (71%). Only nine percent say it is bad and 11 percent say neither. Oil-rich Nigeria is the most positive of the ten countries pollled in Africa: 76 percent of Nigerians call globalization good. Africans also tend to look favorably on foreign investment. Seventy-five percent call attracting such funds “necessary and positive.” Only 19 percent say it could be “dangerous.”
Nonetheless, a majority of Africans (56%) say globalization helps the rich more than the poor. Only 6 percent think the poor benefit more and 28 percent say rich and poor benefit equally. In addition to Nigeria, the survey included Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and South Africa.
Gallup International’s findings echo those of other international surveys. An international poll conducted Dec. 2003-Jan. 2004 by GlobeScan also found that Africa was the region most favorably disposed toward globalization. Strong majorities in all eight African nations surveyed favored integration, reaching as high as 82 percent in Ghana and 79 percent in Kenya. The Globescan poll included a total of 19 countries around the world.
About half of those polled in Asia and the Pacific look favorably on globalization, according to the Gallup International survey, with 52 saying it is good, 5 percent bad and 25 percent neither. The most positive among the 13 countries surveyed are Taiwan (78%) and Vietnam (75%). Taiwan, along with South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, is one of the original Asian “tigers,” whose economies took off in the 1960s. Vietnam only began to shed its communist past in the mid 1980s. Although it remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, its growth rate has averaged more than 7.5 percent over the past five years.
In addition to the countries mentioned above, Gallup International polled China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Thailand.
Latin Americans are divided on globalization: 35 percent say it is good, 15 percent call it bad, and 35 percent think it is neither good nor bad. Chile, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic are the most positive. The ten countries polled are more favorable toward foreign investment. A slim majority (56%) calls it positive, while a third considers it dangerous. The Dominican Republic (74%) and Paraguay (68%) are the most likely to support foreign investment.
Nearly six in ten Latin Americans (58%) say the rich are the primary beneficiaries of globalization while 28 percent say both rich and poor benefit equally. Very few (2%) think the poor reap most of the rewards.
The other Latin American countries included in the Gallup International study were Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
In Western Europe, the most common reply is that globalization is neither good nor bad. In the 16 Western European countries surveyed, 40 percent of respondents take this neutral view while 28 percent say globalization is good and 22 percent say bad. Majorities look favorably on globalization in Denmark, Iceland and Sweden, while majorities reject it in Greece, France and Austria. Foreign investment is generally regarded positively: 57 percent of Europeans on average say it is necessary while 34 percent see it as dangerous. The other countries included by Gallup International in this region were Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Three out of four Western Europeans (76%) say the rich profit more from globalization than the poor; 16 percent say both gain equally and a mere 2 percent say the poor get more.
Opinion on globalization is also divided in the United States and Canada, with the most common view being that it is neither good nor bad. Canadians look a bit more favorably on international integration than their next-door NAFTA partners. 35 percent consider globalization good, 17 percent bad and 39 percent neither. In the United States, only one in four consider globalization to be good (24%) and the same proportion think it is bad (24%). A third (33%) believes it is neither good nor bad and 18 percent say they don’t know.
Americans, however, tend to view foreign investment negatively. Forty-four percent say it is “dangerous” compared to 36 percent who call it “necessary and positive.” Canadians look more kindly on foreign investment: fifty-eight percent call it beneficial while 36 percent believe it could harm their economy.
Majorities in both Canada (73%) and the United States (65%) think the rich profit more from opening up borders to commerce than the poor. Again, very few believe the poor are those most favored by integration in either Canada (1%) or the U.S. (4%). Twenty-one percent and 15 percent, respectively, believe the benefits are distributed equally.
Eastern and Central Europe (including Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.N.-administered territory of Kosovo) is the most skeptical region on globalization: only 23 percent believe it is good while 21 percent say it is bad. About a third (33%) says the process is neither good nor bad. This was the also the region with the highest percentage saying they did not know (24%). Eastern and Central Europe is divided on the issue of foreign investment: 45 percent of respondents call it necessary and positive; 36 percent regard it as dangerous.
The most common view among Eastern Europeans is that the rich tend to benefit more from globalization, though respondents are divided on this issue. Forty percent say the rich gain more while 22 percent say both benefit equally. Only 5 percent believe the poor stand to profit more and 33 percent say they do not know.