Dark cloud looms on Asia’s economic horizon, reflects an international survey released by the World Economic Forum in association with leading market information outfit TNS and Gallup International. The survey - the 2004 Voice of the People, reached the conclusion that Asia’s economic future looked decidedly gloomy on the basis of studying more than eight thousand people sourced from across nine Asian countries, polled between June and September on a wide range of issues including their view of future economic prosperity, world safety as well as their opinion of political and business leaders.
The results on a regional level threw up quite a noticeable variation – while some regions were more tolerant to politicians’ failings – Europe (both West and East/Central) and North America, for example, others were harshly critical, particularly Africa, Latin America, the Indian Subcontinent and most of Asia Pacific although some countries in last belt had arguing views. In India, for instance, an overwhelming 91 per cent of the respondents felt that the country’s political leaders were dishonest
Lead by Taiwan – the most pessimist of the nine Asian countries surveyed, had nearly two thirds (59 per cent) of respondents feeling that the next generation would see less economic prosperity. The average number of Asians feeling downbeat about economic prospects was nearly twice that who foresee future prosperity (42 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively). Expressing an almost equally negative sentiment is Japan where more than half (54 per cent) of respondents were doubtful about the next generation’s economic prosperity. In India, a mere 27 per cent predicted a rosier economic future for the next generation.
The rest of the world, however, shared India’s criticism of dishonest political leaders. Apart from India’s 91 per cent, the highest percentages were registered in Ecuador (96%), Poland (90%), Nigeria (92%), Bolivia (91%), Mexico (93%), and Peru (91%), and the lowest in Singapore (3%), the Netherlands (12%) and Malaysia (13%). As far as business leadership is concerned, the most common criticism levied against corporate brains was their to pressure from people more powerful than them with an average of nearly half of the sample size (49 per cent) quoting these attributes. Interestingly, dishonesty is a criticism surprisingly levied more at businessmen than political leaders in all countries except India, where 51 per cent respondents felt that businessmen were dishonest, as opposed to 91 percent for politicians.