Rich world 'pessimistic' but developing world 'upbeat'

Laughing Kenyan woman People in developing countries such as Kenya were more upbeat, despite the difficult lives many face

A BBC World Service survey in 25 countries has found strikingly different attitudes to the economic outlook between rich and developing countries.

In the rich world, consumers were pessimistic, while in emerging economies people were more upbeat.

It is a pattern that reflects the very uneven recovery from the recent global recession.

More than 25,000 people were surveyed by the polling firm Globescan.

Japan, France and Britain emerged as particularly gloomy. The percentage expecting good times in all three countries was in single figures. More than half expected bad times.

Recession danger

The picture across the rich world was one of pessimists outnumbering the optimists, though by smaller margins.

The one exception to this pattern was Germany, where 36% expected good or mostly good times, well ahead of those who were downbeat. Even there, the optimists were outnumbered by those expecting a mix of good and bad times ahead.

In the developing world, optimists outnumbered pessimists in nearly every country surveyed. In Nigeria more than seventy per cent expected good times. The results were strongly upbeat in Kenya and Egypt as well.

There was one exception, Pakistan, where pessimists were slightly more numerous. In Russia, Chile and Ecuador, the optimists were only just ahead.

The difference in attitudes does broadly reflect recent economic performance: strong growth in many emerging economies, sluggishness in the rich world.

It is also consistent with most forecasts, which suggest an increasing danger of at least some developed economies sliding back into recession.

The research was done between July and September this year.

Since then the situation in the world's biggest economic trouble spot - the eurozone - has moved on and in some respects the uncertainty there has deepened.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    When on a trip to the great wall of China, my tour guide told me that when he was a kid; the greatest thing he used to look forward to was an Ice-cream; yes.. an Ice-cream!

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Perhaps one day the west will learn that money does not equate to happiness. Those who chase material possessions and wealth will never be fulfilled, for there will never be a time when they have enough to say their hunger is sated. The worlds poorest seem to be the worlds happiest. Ask why that is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Confidence is everything. In reality not much has changed, people still live, work, play, contribute just as they always's just their level of confidence that changes. Be positive and remember.....knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing will not build your confidence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    When you live in relative poverty life can only get better, which makes you an optimistic. When you have a relatively affluent lifestyle which you have worked hard to achieve and can see your lifestyle going down the pan and can do nothing about it because no one is listening, this makes you a pessimistic. has nothing to do with spirituality or caring for one another

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    We are lucky to be in a developed country despite the economic gloom. We have it easy compared to developing countries and should probably stop moaning about austerity here now the credit card has run out.


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