An interconnected world at the crossroads between a common destiny or the return of nationalism
An interconnected world at the crossroads between a common destiny or the return of nationalism
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An interconnected world at the crossroads between a common destiny or the return of nationalism

By George Michael Belardinelli - 10 Sep 2022

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Taking its cue from a survey conducted by the Foundations of Open Society among a large sample of citizens from countries that differ widely in interests, alliances and cultures, it emerges that human beings, now more than ever, when confronted with the challenges of our time have attitudes that are sometimes solidary and socially uniting and other times protectionist and individualistic.

The world’s population is at a crossroads between a world of solidarity and openness to cooperation and another in which globalization gives way to the return of nationalism. In this world that tempers people through energy crises, pandemics and winds of war, people of all latitudes are rediscovering themselves to be genuinely pragmatic but also supportive.

The report “Global Perspectives of a World in Crisis” 

In the report “Global Perspectives of a World in Crisis,” Dataprixis and YouGov, between 22 July and 15 August 2022 collaborated to interview 21,413 people from 22 different countries, commissioned by the Foundations of Open Society.

The report compiled by the three societies aimed to understand how respondents perceived the world and what living in these times harassed by the most impactful events since World War II meant to them and their families.

Across the globe, people have an understanding of the problems that we will all sooner or later face or worse are still facing (from climate change to inflation, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the invasion of Ukraine) that is very cross-cutting and profound although, they approach it differently depending on each person’s background, provenance and convenience.

Respondents in this survey include people from 5 countries that make up the G7 such as France, Germany, Britain, Japan and the United States of America but the sample is wide and varied and also includes countries from Asia such as India, sub-Saharan Africa such as Nigeria, Egypt or Saudi Arabia, Eastern Europe with Poland, Moldova and the battered Ukraine, Turkey in the south but also Japan and South Africa or Brazil in Latin America.

When the challenges faced or the problems plaguing populations are common and know no latitude or longitude, respondents showed similar percentages in their answers to questions asked in the field by YouGov staff (who oversaw the extensive data collection).

10″The world is in crisis”

Analysis of the data collected by the study

The massive amount of data that generated the above report revealed that with regard to topics such as inflation for example, the COVID 19 pandemic or commodity supply, respondents’ answers are not dissimilar from each other with the exception of Turkey limited to the topic of CPI.

Erdogan’s country has far exceeded 70% inflation but the population has been living with this long-standing problem for decades and considers it almost physiological, hence a greater tolerance towards the problem that for 50% of the local population is not among the biggest ones plaguing the planet and therefore not to be considered a priority.

In a world traveling fast toward a period of high inflation (which is already here) with Kenya where it has reached 8.3%, the UK in double digits and Turkey at a resounding 79.6% with a 175% increase in consumer prices over last year, half of the respondents (49%) believe that this is among the major problems plaguing the world to date and perhaps the one that most impacts people’s real lives as it touches people’s wallets (a quarter consider it the major problem).

Attention towards the cost of living is very high in some countries, particularly those where incomes are high such as Singapore (76%), Britain (70%), France (58%), Germany (45%) and Japan (46%) but there are exceptions represented for example by Poland (57%) and Serbia (58%).

Turkey, on the other hand, despite the hyperinflation affecting it and skyrocketing prices of primary goods, does not find inflation a problem to be tackled head-on showing great resilience and probably habituation due to years of living with the problem.

One problem that is widely considered to be one of the apex problems is the rising winds of war and in some cases real wars in disparate parts.

The potential macroeconomic implications

The most worrisome scenarios because of their geopolitical and macroeconomic importance are the Russian-Ukrainian one in Eastern Europe and the Taiwan issue on the border between China and the United States, also, but not only, because the small country is the world’s largest producer of chips that are used to produce 90% of the technology on the planet (automotive, PC, Telephony, aerospace, military, etc.) and therefore a very greedy subject for both the Dragon and New York.

In the 24 pages compiled, it is evident how all over the world, people are more united and progressive than their leaders, there is a global consciousness that calls for meek counsel of peace and not to tread dangerously on the ridge of nationalisms for the common good i.e. peace and stability.

From the survey conducted, it appears that the problem most felt by the populations of all the interviewed states is climate change followed by economic problems, pandemics and the conflict in Ukraine.

The consensus is that the world is walking in lockstep toward problems that may become unsolvable if not caught in time but there is also a perception that the historical and social time has come to shift gears, become aware of things and react promptly.

Respondents to the report

83% of the respondents in Mexico, 64% of the Senegalese, and 56% of the people surveyed in India, fear that their families may go hungry very soon, the same is true for two-fifths of Americans, and 26% of people in the United Kingdom.

According to the United Nations periodic report between Africa, Asia and Latin America some 90 countries are at serious risk of an unprecedented food, energy and financial crisis.

The economic issue is another big one and is very much in the spotlight, Sri Lanka went into default this year similar to Greece or Argentina, and it is feared that at least a dozen other countries may share its fate, among them, needless to say, is Italy, which although not the subject of the Open Society report is under speculative attack from large investment funds that are shorting the country, betting against it.

The large debt incurred over time by the country, a debt-to-GDP ratio well over 150% and 9% inflation that strains the social fabric, the country is being targeted and if the ECB does not come to the rescue the situation could have catastrophic implications.

In countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan and the United States, citizens would be willing to donate 2% of the national budget to a solidarity fund aimed at supporting countries in obvious difficulty, less virtuous or at risk of default. At the end of World War II, the same percentage allowed America to be instrumental in rebuilding Europe.

The UN reports how 1.7 billion people, basically a figure very close to one-third of the entire population of the planet is at risk of poverty and hunger, growing fiscal pressures due to revenue shortfalls in the pandemic period, the difficulty of the productive fabric to work due to the commodity crisis, and a widely understandable drop in demand given the devastating inflation and high energy prices bring people to the brink.

The ideas of the IMF and the UN

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 60% of countries around the world have worrisome public debt problems that could trigger chain defaults that would fail to exempt even solid economies such as the US or China.

Ahead of the 77th annual UN conference scheduled for September, the Foundation of Open Society, in its research, found that the citizens of the countries surveyed (who, as mentioned earlier, come from different backgrounds and from all parts of the globe) do not have much hope for the future, which they see as uncertain and dangerous, partly in relation to the unwillingness of countries to cooperate for a better future.

Climate change leads the priorities of those involved in the report with 36% of the responses, among them we find countries such as France, Germany, Serbia and Great Britain while 28% believe that it is the war between Russia and Ukraine that is the greatest danger to humanity and therefore the situation towards which attention and commitment should be directed.

80% of respondents among Latin American countries and 77% among African countries feel worried about their family and fear that it will go hungry, the problem is obviously less felt in Europe and America but it is striking that a 39% worry about it a sign that no place on earth is now immune and that everyone must now worry about everything in such an interconnected world.

Conclusions

Finally, the survey focused on the response that global organizations give to the world’s problems and it emerged that 76% of respondents appreciated the response given by Europe to the problem minus that given by the UN and the G7 countries from which they expected a stronger response.

Almost all countries agreed in a strong condemnation of Russia’s actions, which they saw as mostly a historical quirk of a former colonial power towards a former colony.

Western Europe and the United States also show widespread pessimism toward the future of the world certified by a hefty 63% and 65% however there is great desire for cohesion when we read that 83% of the total respondents hope for greater global cohesion and collaboration to address common problems.

George Michael Belardinelli

A former corporate manager at Carifac Spa and later at Veneto Banca Scpa, blogger and Rhumière, over the years he has become passionate about philosophy and the opportunities that innovation and the media make available to us, in particular the metaverse and augmented reality

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