Polarization eats the developed world

Illustrated collage of a globe in pieces with lightening bolts coming out of the edges.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic fear is creating record levels of polarization around the globe, particularly in developed nations with slow-growth economies, like Spain and Japan, according to Edelman’s latest annual Trust Barometer survey.

Why it matters: Polarization leads to instability, creating uncertainty for business. That puts more pressure on companies and corporate leaders to establish the trust among consumers that governments have failed to win.

The big picture: For the third year in a row, business is the only institution globally that is seen as both ethical and competent. Media and government are seen as particularly unethical and incompetent in addressing societal problems, while NGOs are perceived as ethical, but less competent.

Details: Around the world, economic optimism has cratered thanks to rising inflation in the wake of the pandemic.

  • In 24 of the 28 countries surveyed, confidence in the economy has plummeted to all-time lows, per the study. Only respondents in China believe that they and their families will be better off in five years.
  • None of the 14 developed nations surveyed had more than 35% of its respondents saying they were confident that their family will be better off in five years.

Be smart: Developing nations with slow-growth economies, such as Argentina, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico, are experiencing some of the largest trust gaps between business and government, while fast-expanding economies such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore are experiencing the smallest.


Categories: Geopolitics

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