An interesting table. Some would have you believe that saving the planet is the number one worry on everyone’s mind. However like so many polls taken when the economy is in the dumps people naturally retreat to saving themselves. Nothing even peacenik Canada is scared of Mother Nature. Unemployment is the #1 concern for Candians according to an Ipsos report from Nov 2016 the same as Spain & Italy (youth unemployment at 58% and 56% respectively), Saudi Arabia, France, and Australia. Poverty tops the worry list in Japan, Germany, Russia and Belgium. South Americans (Peru, Mexico, Argentina) are most worried about crime with peace loving Swedes clearly sharing the opposite view of their socialist government’s progressive policies. Korea unsurprisingly worries about corruption as does India. As Brexit proved, Brits are worried about immigration control. Americans are concerned about terrorism. The Chinese aren’t worried about climate change but threats to the environment aka pollution. In fact no country listed climate change.
Hang on? Australia? Unemployment? Well actually it makes perfect sense. A recent ME Bank survey in Australia found only 46 per cent of households were able to save each month. Just 32 per cent could raise $3000 in an emergency and 50 per cent aren’t confident of meeting their obligations if unemployed for three months.
In Japan, poverty is a concern and rightly so. As I wrote in my crime series last year, this law abiding country has huge problems. Maybe from very low rates but the relevance is great. Retirees make up 1/3rd of all crime and the government has expanded prison capacity 50% top house all the elderly inmates who are creating another headache – the Ministry of Justice needs to go cap in hand for extra budget to cover the soaring health costs behind bars to look after its guarded nursing homes. Domestic violence is soaring as is child abuse. The Japanese National Police Agency had to create a new category for DV caused by divorced couples living under the same roof because economic hardship prevents them living separately.
Even Germany has a poverty problem despite what Angela Merkel would have you believe,. Yes, the low unemployment masks the fact that her party has doubled the size of the public service top 18% of the entire workforce since 2006.
America cities terrorism as the biggest threat but a Jan 2017 IPSOS poll showed “overall, 58% of Americans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction, with Republicans (61%) and Democrats (56%) having a fair amount of pessimism. More Independents (67%) believe that the country is off on the wrong track. The economy remains at the top of the list of the most serious problem facing the United States, at 19%. ” Environment is way down the list at 5%. Yes, this is pretty much a carbon copy of the poll I saw at the time of GFC and the tech bubble collapse in 2000. When times are tough people aren’t worries about saving the planet but saving themselves.
The peace loving open minded multi-cultural Swedes are most concerned by its populace. I wrote last month that “the Sweden Democrats seem to be resonating with a public that is fed up with the establishment. Their conservative views are made pretty plain in the campaign posters which cover train stations etc. I have to say full marks for not withholding punches about who is behind the ‘mess’. Sweden’s long standing liberal views on immigration have backfired. In 1975 it opened its borders to actively chase multiculturalism. In recent months though Sweden has asked its neighbours to take refugees off their hands which provoked a response from Denmark’s Immigration Minister, “’The Swedes put themselves in this situation. They have pursued a very lenient immigration policy for years and they are to blame for the swamp they are in.”
Left wing politician Barbro Sörman tweeted the difference with migrants commiting rape is that Swedish men culturally should know better. She tweeted “The Swedish men who rape do it despite the growing gender equality. They make an active choice. It’s worse…” When contacted by a local newspaper for clarification she replied, “Take a picture of Sweden as an equal society, where all are nurtured in equality. Then you can say that if you are brought up in it, you make an active choice to not be equal, rather than if you are brought up in a society that is not equal”
Malmo has been a city often pointed to as a proxy for failed integration in Sweden. Deputy Police Commissioner Mats Karlsson said in response to multiple explosions that occur in the city on a regular basis, “Our dilemma is that we can never guarantee anything for sure. Evidently there are individuals who have hand grenades and they often resort to violence over things that may seem very banal to you or I – a conflict over an ex-girlfriend or a little brother wanting to outperform his big brother…It’s bad enough when they use guns, because they’ve got such poor aim, but grenades are really worrying. They have a 360-degree reach.”
However what ever country you live in, such polls give an underlying view and I would suggest on balance that the majority of governments are not listening once again highlighting the natural lurch to conservative parties who want to broach the mess socialist policies have exacerbated since 2008.