around the World Increasingly Favour Globalization but Worry about Jobs,
Poverty and Environment
Economic Forum Survey of 25,000 Citizens across 25 Countries
February 2002 - New York
The largest-ever public opinion poll on
globalization, covering countries with 67% of the world’s population,
shows that people increasingly favour economic globalization, but they have high
expectations in some areas that will be difficult to satisfy. Citizens also have
concerns about perceived damaging impacts of globalization.
Conducted in late 2001 as part of the first comprehensive global survey of the
post-11 September world, the research reveals that:
majority of people in most countries surveyed expect that more economic
globalization will be positive for themselves and their families. Across the
world, over six in ten citizens see globalization as beneficial, while one
in five sees it as negative.
views of globalization have grown over the past year, especially in North
America and Europe.
especially those in poorer countries, have high expectations that
globalization will deliver benefits in a number of economic and non-economic
citizens also believe that globalization will worsen environmental problems
and poverty in the world, and reduce the number of jobs in their country.
in G-7 countries, most citizens do not believe that poor countries benefit
as much as rich countries from free trade and globalization. However, the
opposite is true in low GDP countries.
The World Economic Forum poll involved 25,000 in-person or telephone
interviews across mainly “Group of 20” countries, and was conducted
between October and December 2001 by respected research institutes in each
participating country under the leadership of Environics International Ltd of
Most people in 19 of 25 countries surveyed expect that more economic
globalization will be positive for themselves and their families. Although more
than six in ten citizens worldwide (62%) see globalization as positive, only one
in seven is convinced of this. Globalization’s strongest supporters are found
in northern Europe, North America and poorer countries in Asia. Conversely, one
in five citizens (22%) believes that globalization has negative effects on them
personally. Most opposed to globalization, and increasingly so, are people in
economically troubled Turkey and Argentina. The accompanying chart provides
Over the past year, positive views of
globalization have grown, especially in North America and Europe. Of the 18
countries where the question was asked in both 2000 and 2001, positive views are
up significantly in nine (most notably in Germany and South Korea), and down in
five (especially in Turkey).
The majority of those surveyed anticipate improvements on eight of 15 factors
surveyed, most notably greater access to world markets, cheaper goods, improved
cultural life, a better quality of life, strengthened human rights, a more
robust national economy and a higher personal income.
However, significant proportions of people are
concerned that globalization will have a detrimental impact in a number of other
areas, most notably environmental quality, poverty and the number of jobs
available, but also the gap between rich and poor, world peace and stability,
workers’ rights and the quality of jobs. The biggest concern is environment,
with the majority of people in ten countries, including much of Europe,
foreseeing environmental degradation resulting from increased globalization.
Citizens do not believe that poor countries benefit as much as rich countries
from free trade and globalization. Nearly one in two citizens across the 25
countries surveyed disagrees with the statement that “globalization benefits
poor countries as much as rich countries.” This view is especially pronounced
in G-7 countries where six in ten disagree; however, in the low GDP countries
surveyed, most citizens agree that poor countries benefit equally.
There remains significant support for peaceful anti-globalization protesters.
Almost one in two citizens overall and majorities in half of the 25 countries
surveyed “support people who take part in peaceful demonstrations against
globalization because they are supporting my interests.” Support in the United
States is somewhat muted (four in ten), down ten points from just prior to 11
In commenting on the poll’s findings, Charles McLean, Director of
Communications at the World Economic Forum, said: “Both sides of the
globalization debate will find things to welcome and to be concerned about in
these research results. For our part, the Forum is pleased to have brought the
views of average citizens from around the world into the debate.” He went on
to say, “The Forum’s members should see this survey as evidence of growing
appreciation of globalization’s benefits. However, they should also see this
as a time of considerable challenge and great expectations on the part of the
Richard Samans, Director of Global Issues at the World Economic Forum, said:
“The public is still coming to judgement on important aspects of
globalization. While the globalization agenda has advanced its popular mandate
over the past year, this research suggests it faces a number of tough
challenges. Fortunately, this year’s international agenda, including important
UN conferences in Monterrey, Mexico, and Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as
the ‘Group of Eight’ Summit in Canada, presents leaders with excellent
opportunities to tackle the most pressing issues – poverty, job growth, market
access and environmental protection. Major commitments and actions in these
areas will be needed to solidify public support for global integration.”
According to Doug Miller, President of Environics International, “In this
post-11 September world, citizens in the richest countries feel new urgency to
ensure that those in the poorest countries gain some tangible advantage from
globalization. Society may be at an historic moment when the importance of
addressing global poverty is matched by the self-interest, the willingness and
the capacity to do so. Companies need to be part of this. Our research shows
that consumers expect global companies to be part of implementing global
solutions in the social and environmental realms, as well as the economic
sphere. By playing active, yet appropriate, roles in addressing world problems,
global companies can help reduce distrust of their motives, gain important brand
equity and help solidify positive views of globalization.”
Each national survey was based on a representative sample of about 1,000 adults
and was conducted in-home or by telephone between October and December 2001 as
part of Environics’ annual 25-nation Global
Issues Monitor survey.
National findings are accurate to within + or – 3%, 19 times out of 20.
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