Economic hopes in the South and East, and sunset in the West

30 December 2023

The global economic downturn has reigned in the world, apparently for a long time. And this is fully reflected in the feelings of the inhabitants of the planet. 26% of respondents worldwide are positive about economic changes. 39% believe that there will be more economic difficulties next year. Another 29% of respondents believe that from an economic point of view, the new year will be the same as the previous one. That is, economic negativism prevails in the world, as in previous years. At the same time, pessimism is thickening to the greatest extent in the West.

These are the general results of the global survey* "End of the Year" (End of the Year) of the international association of research agencies Gallup International conducted at the end of 2023 in 40 countries of the world, in Russia the study was conducted by ROMIR.

There are no European countries that are optimistic about economic changes, with the exception of Albania and Kosovo. But this camp includes the countries of the East and the global South. Saudi Arabia tops the list of optimists with an index of economic hope of 78 points. In India, the Index value is 0 – that is, there are an equal number of economic optimists and pessimists in the country.

The list of countries in the negative zone of the economic hope index is filled with Western countries, led by Germany (-54). It is closely followed by other European neighbors (see the table). The Index figures in Canada are -36 points, in the USA -22.

Russians are also quite pessimistic about the economic prospects. Two out of five (39%) Russians expect economic difficulties in the new year, and every eighth respondent (12%) hopes for improvements in the economy. However, in Russia, in comparison with recent years, the situation with economic hopes has taken a course for recovery. If in the pandemic years the Index value was at the lowest levels for the entire measurement period (-41 and -42 points), then in the forecasts for the coming year, the Russians showed a noticeable positive trend. 

"It has been a long time since there was that well-fed and prosperous Western world that we once imagined. New centers of economic development are shifting to the East. The world is changing rapidly and not always according to the scenarios that were laid out for a pandemic or support for armed conflicts. The global economy will no longer be the same. The West–centric economy is being replaced by a new multi-regional system," concludes Andrey Milekhin, President of ROMIR, Doctor of Sociology.

*In October-December 2023, more than 40,000 people in 40 countries were interviewed as part of the End of the Year project. In each country, surveys were conducted based on national or urban samples. It is not possible to verify the quality of primary information collection for a number of countries. In Russia, the ROMIR research holding interviewed 1,500 respondents based on a nationally representative sample.

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