Indians and Chinese happy amidst world economic gloom: Survey

June 14th, 2008 - 10:08 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 14 (IANS) Amidst the global economic gloom, people of India and China remain upbeat about national economic conditions, though Indians are less positive than they were a year ago, according to a new survey. In contrast, some of the most negative evaluations of economic conditions come from citizens of advanced Western countries, the latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project covering 24,000 people in 24 countries suggests.

The survey was conducted between March 17 and April 21, just before the fuel and food crisis gathered speed.

Positive views of the economy have declined sharply over the past year in Great Britain, the US and Spain. France, where most people were already quite negative about the economy, just 19 percent view the national economy as good down from 30 percent in 2007.

Majorities in 18 of the 24 countries surveyed say conditions have worsened with 61 percent rating their national economy as bad compared with 50 percent in 2007. The proportion of those expressing a positive view of their nation’s economy has declined in 14 of the 22 countries since last year.

People around the world also have a familiar complaint - most think the US is having a considerable influence on their economy. The impact is seen as largely negative on national economies, both large and small, in all parts of the world.

But Indians think otherwise. In fact, India and Nigeria are the only nations surveyed where more than a third of respondents express a positive view of America’s economic influence.

The view that the American economy is hurting their national economies is most prevalent among the publics of Western Europe. About seven-in-ten in Great Britain, Germany (72 percent each) and France (70 percent) say that the US economy is having a negative impact on economic conditions in their country.

Despite these economic concerns, there is little evidence that the overall image of the US has slipped further as a consequence.

On the contrary, positive views of the US have risen sharply in Tanzania (by 19 points) and South Korea (12 points), and by smaller but significant margins in Indonesia, China, India and Poland.

Overall, opinions of the United States are most positive in South Korea, Poland, India and in the three African countries surveyed this year - Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa.

However, positive opinions of the US have declined by 11 points in Japan - a traditional US ally - and in neighbouring Mexico (by nine points). The image of the US also remains overwhelmingly negative in most of the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, though no more so than in recent years.

Fewer than a quarter of respondents express positive opinions of the US in Egypt (22 percent), Jordan (19 percent), Pakistan (19 percent) and Turkey (12 percent), according to the Pew survey.

Large majorities in Turkey and Pakistan say they think of the US as “more of an enemy” rather than as “more of a friend” (70 percent in Turkey; 60 percent in Pakistan). In Lebanon, 80 percent of Shia Muslims consider the United States to be more of an enemy.

In Asia, the US is much better rated than China by the Indians and the South Koreans. But, the Chinese image far outshines the US image among Indonesians, Pakistanis and Russians. In Western Europe, the British, French, and Germans rate both the US and the American people more positively than they do China and the Chinese people.

Asian publics generally have favourable views of both Japan and India, although neither country fares so well among its traditional rivals. Only 21 percent of Chinese have a positive opinion of Japan and just 27 percent of Pakistanis hold a favourable view of India, the sample survey said.

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