BE THE ONE EDUCATING AND GET RID OF THOSE LEADERS!
Neo-liberals like Clinton love to tote that the work they do connecting US global corporations to developing world labor is lifting all boats-----the great equalizer. SOUND LIKE REAGAN'S TRICKLE DOWN? IT IS. If you see polls these days saying all is great it is because polls are created by corporations and we all know corporations are now allowed to do and say anything they want----and they do. We no longer have scientific polls. This is important as neo-liberals move forward with installing global structures to our government. We are shown economic data that makes the US economy seem growing and healthy when is is ready to collapse. Polls say Americans are feeling more prosperous.
PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW PROPAGANDA GO UNCHECKED. LET THESE INSTITUTIONS, YOUR POLS, AND YOUR FRIENDS KNOW THE REAL INFORMATION!
Pew has a reputation of being a corporate propaganda machine with the stats it provides. Gallup as well. When a polling pool of a thousand is used to represent the views of an entire nation-----with doubt as to randomization----the world needs to ignore these polling data until we can get scientific study back into the game!
As they bring home US corporations from developing world nations to operate just as they did overseas-----look at the hype and then look at the reality. People all over the world are just more happy even as economic collapse pushes the world's citizens deeper into poverty. Could it be that only those few that benefited are being included in these polls?
HEAR ALL THAT PROPAGANDA DURING ELECTIONS FROM NEO-LIBERALS WHO ARE SAYING THE ECONOMY IS GROWING AND PEOPLE'S WEALTH IS AS WELL. OBAMA'S POLICIES HAVE BEEN GREAT ----- ACTUALLY THE SAME AS BUSH.
That 22% represent what is the upper-middle class that has escaped much of the fate of the economic collapse......they are the ones who managed to stay employed. What will happen with this next economic crash and if Trans Pacific Trade Pact allows cheap immigrant labor to flood the US job market? That 22% falls to maybe 10%. This is the next attack on the middle-class as the rest of Americans are pushed to deeper poverty. This is neo-liberalism and neo-conservativism which is one in the same. WAKE UP 22%-----YOU ARE NEXT! GET RID OF THESE CLINTON GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS!
70% OF AMERICANS ARE NOW AT OR NEAR THE POVERTY LINE-----DO YOU REALLY THINK 37% OF DEMOCRATS ARE BETTER OFF? LABOR AND JUSTICE VOTERS? 33% OF AFRICAN AMERICANS?
Just 22 percent say they’re ‘better off’ under Obama
By Aaron Blake October 15
President Obama meets with members of his public health and national security team at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the response to the diagnosis of a second Ebola case in Dallas. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP) A couple weeks back, President Obama channeled Ronald Reagan and asked the American people to consider whether they were better off today than when he took over as president.
The answer, at the time, appeared to be no. And now, it's looking like a definite no.
The new Washington Post-ABC News poll asked people a pretty direct question: "Would you say you yourself are better off financially than you were when Obama first became president, not as well off, or in about the same shape as then financially?"
The results: Just 22 percent of Americans say they are better off financially than when Obama took over in January 2009. Slightly more (30 percent) say they're worse off, and nearly half (46 percent) say they're in about the same situation.
Even among Democrats, just 37 percent say they are better off under Obama, while 51 percent say they're virtually in the same spot. Among Obama's most loyal constituency, African Americans, 33 percent say they're better off, with most (again) choosing the middle-ground option.
In both of these cases, there are more "better offs" than "worse offs," but that's still not exactly a ringing endorsement of his presidency.
We would remind folks that, when Obama took over, the United States was in the midst of a full-fledged economic crisis. Congress just a few months earlier had passed the bank bailout, and the economy was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month. Things were very bad, and technically speaking, it would seem the vast majority of Americans are indeed better off than their mid-recession selves.
But people aren't exactly great at remembering in what order things happened a few years ago. Case in point was the 2010 Pew survey which showed more people thought Obama signed the bank bailout than thought Bush -- the correct answer -- did. And this, again, was in 2010.
In addition, people probably expected some kind of recovery from that point, so perhaps Obama doesn't get much credit for that.
Instead, the "better off" question appears to be more about a general feeling about the direction of the country rather than a hard-and-fast December 2008 vs. October 2014 comparison. And as we've argued before, pessimism still permeates the American economy, despite the recent economic gains.
Similarly, the new Post-ABC poll shows 77 percent of people are either "very" or "somewhat" worried about what will happen with the economy in the next few years. And it's no surprise that 93 percent of people who think they're worse off are also worried about the next few years.
Heck, even 58 percent of people who say they are "better off" under Obama are still worried about the coming years.
In other words, Obama can make an argument that the country is in better shape than when he took over. Right now, the American people don't believe it, and it's a big reason the GOP is primed for gains in the upcoming election.
The number of people still having investments in the market are now extremely limited so I tell those few people---like unions with 401Ks and/or pensions that the rise in value from the stock market these few BULL years will be wiped out again with the coming economic crash. So, this wealth recovery is not real and it did not even replace that lost from 2008 crash.
Neo-liberalism is about allowing corporations to do anything for profit-----and these bubbles and busts are strategic for the maximization of wealth at the top. There is no gains from free-market and what neo-liberalism gave us was naked capitalism.
Don't let them sell you that developing world labor have a rising quality of life because of neo-liberalism----that is bull!
Fact Tank - Our Lives in Numbers
May 31, 2013
Economic recovery favors the more-affluent who own stocks
By Alec Tyson6 comments
The surge in the stock market this year – restoring much of the wealth that had been lost during the financial meltdown that struck in 2007 – has masked the unevenness of the recovery among Americans since 2009. A Federal Reserve board analysis this week spelled out the reason: stock market wealth is held by a relatively small number of the most-affluent and, as a result, “most families have recovered much less than the average amount.”
This factor is also made clear in Pew Research Center surveys and analyses that show which Americans do or don’t own stocks, and how this dividing line has widened the wealth gap in the period since the recovery began to take hold in 2009.
A Pew Research survey in March found that 53% of Americans say they have no money at all invested in the stock market, including retirement accounts.
Broad majorities of those in households earning $75,000 a year or more (80%) and those with a college degree (77%) say they have money invested in the stock market. By contrast, just 15% of those earning less than $30,000 a year and 25% of those with no more than a high school diploma say they have money in the market.
However, while stock owners have seen the value of their investments rise, their views on the national economy remain gloomy and are no different than the views of non-stock owners.
Overall, 17% of stockholders rate the national economy as only fair or poor. Similarly, just 15% of those without money in the market rate the economy positively.
And owning stocks also has no impact on economic optimism. Just 23% of stock owners say the national economy will be better in a year, compared with 26% of those who do not own stocks.
Our March survey found that most Americans ranked the stock market last among six factors affecting their finances. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said gas prices had the greatest impact on their wallets, followed by prices for food and consumer goods (58%), the federal deficit (39%), the jobs situation (39%) and real estate values (32%). Only 23% cited the stock market as an important factor.
The demographic differences when it comes to which Americans have a big stake in the market – and the biggest difference is family income – have also been behind a growth in the so-called wealth gap since the end of the recession.
A Pew Research Center study in April found that the upper 7% of Americans as far as mean net worth saw their wealth rise an estimated 28% while the meant net worth of households in the lower 93% dropped by 4% between 2009 and 2011.
Driving this was the fact that affluent households have far more of their money in stocks and other financial holdings, and they reaped the benefits of the rise in the markets. Less affluent households typically have their wealth concentrated in the value of their homes, and while the housing market has started to rebound, it did not see the kind of surge that the markets had.
This finding was underlined by a report issued this week by the Federal Reserve in a section analyzing “How Much Household Wealth Has Been Recovered,” (p. 14).
Of the total recovery, 62% of the gain was due to increased stock market wealth, the analysis said. “Stock wealth is unevenly held, with the vast majority of stocks owned by a relatively small number of wealthy families. Thus, most families have recovered much less than the average amount.”
“A conclusion that the financial damage of the crisis and recession largely has been repaired is not justified,” the report stated.
All of China and India's wealth generation from adopting a 'free market' went right to the top as it has in the US with growing autocratic loss of freedoms. That is what neo-liberalism does!
If China’s Fiscal Revenue is Booming, Why Aren’t Most People Better Off?
Oct 15, 2012 Translated by eChinacities.com
Behind the Veil of Glamour: The Life of Foreign Models in China
Editor's note: the following article was translated and edited from a post by blog writer “Wang Sixiang (王思想). In the article, Wang examines the seemingly incredible statistic that the Chinese government's fiscal revenue has increased by 500% since 2002, before launching into a critique of how that money is spent (or, more accurately, not spent) on public services.
I can only use the term "madness" to describe the following statistic: The Chinese government's fiscal revenue reached nearly 6.4 trillion RMB (1.01 trillion USD) in the first half of 2012. Assuming this trend to hold for the second half of the year, China's year-end fiscal revenue will top 12 trillion RMB—six times that of 2002, and representing a staggering growth rate of 500%.
What is and is not included in China's fiscal revenue reports
The contents of this official figure are worth discussing in greater detail. Fiscal revenue includes the revenues from collected taxes, profits from SOEs, fee income and “other” income. Yet, besides all these macro-level tax revenues that go into the official calculation of the fiscal revenue, there's also an alarming number of officials (particularly in powerful government departments) who—on the side—collect insanely high “administration” fees for what should be free public services [think giving an official a hongbao to speed up a registration process- ed.] and impose arbitrary fines; both a sort of “grey” revenue which is obviously not counted. Thus, it's likely that the real total fiscal revenue for 2012 is far greater than 12 trillion RMB.
In light of the ongoing financial crisis that has swept across the globe during the past decade (and particularly this past year), many onlookers, impressed by the comparatively shallow impact it's had on China's economy (and the above-noted increase in fiscal revenue), have not been shy in expressing their admiration for the government's business-mindedness. This situation reminds me a bit of the Sun Erniang character in the classic novel, Water Margin—the owner of a mountainside restaurant who sold baozi to passersby…baozi made with human meat from previous passersby that she'd killed—and a lot of the old 5-character CCP slogan "Serve the People" (为人民服务).
The small matter of “People's Livelihood”
So government revenues are surging, but how are the people doing? Think about it for a minute: based on the 500% increase, workers, who ten years ago had a monthly salary of 2,000 RMB, should now be making about 12,000 RMB; workers, who earned 5,000 RMB, should be approaching the 30,000 RMB mark. Anything less than that and you must be dragging your feet, bringing the country down with you. Yet, a quick look around suggests that the civil servants, military personnel, and employees of SEOs have actually attained a 500% increase in salary. As for everyone else, well, not so much.
Fine. Even if we ourselves are holding the country back, at least our government's revenue is growing! If it could just give each of us a small share of that revenue, then that will sort of count toward a salary increase, right? Let's reflect on the past decade and ask ourselves the following questions: Has tuition increased or decreased? Have medical costs increased or decreased? Now ask yourself this question: Has the cost of buying a house increased? Well, that's one out of three anyway.
So where's all the money going?
First, let's look at how much the government is spending. According to Zhu Lijia (竹立家), a professor in the public administration department at the National School of Administration, Chinese government spending accounts for about 20% of the total fiscal revenues. In comparison, Japanese government spending only accounts for about 2.8%, while the European Union average is about 5% (this is still a fairly conservative estimate. Some experts claim that Chinese government spending is actually around 25% of the total fiscal revenue). What about the other 80%? It's estimated that every year about 1 trillion RMB is spent on official banquets, official cars and official travel. Moreover, the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, the 60th National Day celebrations in 2009, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the Guangzhou Asian Games each cost several hundred billion RMB respectively (and then there was that whole Shenzhou-9 space mission…).
Think about how large the amounts of government corruption and corporate fraud in the US takes from our government coffers.......neo-liberals and neo-cons in the US are allowing the same criminal system to develop as is in these third world nations.
As for the government's "investments in the people's livelihood", it's pretty shocking just how much of this money actually goes towards things like kickbacks and money laundering, in what has become a more-or-less undisguised transfer of public spending in to officials' pockets. And let's not forget about the luxurious official compounds located throughout the country. So what proportion of a government's fiscal revenue is normally allocated to public expenses like education, health and social security? In the United States it's 42%, in the United Kingdom it's 49%, and in Canada it's 52%. Meanwhile, in China it's only 8%.
Despite their government being the second wealthiest in the world, the majority of Chinese believe that in the last 10 years their life has actually become more difficult. Why is that? Let's briefly compare China and the United States: the US government bureaucracy only spends about 5% of the tax revenue, while 40-50% of the tax revenue is given back to the people in the form of various benefits and public services. Conversely, the Chinese government bureaucracy probably spends about 40-50% (8-10 times that of the US), while only about 8% is really given back to the people (1/5-1/6th that of the US). Yet, even under such a stark contrast, China's official media still propagates its tax code as "Taken from the people, for the benefit of the people" (取之于民，用之于民). Really, it's inevitable that as wealthy governments expand in size, they become so-called "big governments". But with the direction that China's government is taking, it is becoming ever more distant from the needs of the people, as well as its old reform slogan "Big Society, Small Government" (大社会，小政府).
For those telling you neo-liberalism and free market was a success for developing worlds-----the polls that show that are in conflict to all of the research and data. The same rich-poor divide for all the same reasons as here in the US.......corporations and the stock market were allowed to operate without oversight and accountability amidst systemic corporate fraud and government corruption moving all the public wealth to the few at the top. This was neo-liberalism. Clinton dismantled all the structures that protected the American people from this corporate abuse with breaking Glass Steagall, NAFTA, and deregulation and downsizing Federal oversight and accountability. This set a teed golf ball for Bush to just wack-----allowing open and systemic fraud to rob the US Treasury and people's pockets blind. Along comes Obama and makes sure that loot stays with the corporate robbers and then oversees the same fraud and corruption in Wall Street allowing them to super-size their gains.....all economic gains during Obama's terms in office went to the top 1%. THIS IS A PLAN FOLKS----NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS WORKING TO DISMANTLE OUR DEMOCRACY/RIGHTS AS CITIZENS.
WHO SUPPORT NEO-LIBERALS EVERY ELECTION CYCLE? NATIONAL LABOR AND JUSTICE LEADERS. THAT IS THE SOLUTION----GET NEW LEADESHIP THAT WORKS TO GET RID OF CORPORATE POLS!
Note as well that wherever neo-liberalism takes hold food economy is the first to be compromised.
Wealth Gap in India has Created a Social Time Bomb
Published November 30, 2008
Newsweek yesterday wrote “In recent years, the global media has been abuzz with glowing headlines about India’s economic leaps and bounds, the emergence of its consumerist middle class, and its status as one of the last frontiers for luxury conglomerates looking to consolidate their recent gains. But, as the ongoing terrorist assault on Mumbai indicates, maintaining its recent momentum will be a delicate task, and one that it cannot accomplish without bringing all of its citizens on board, including, most importantly, its disaffected Muslim underclass., a large Muslim minority of approximately 150 million.”
India is one of the most wealth-unequal nations in the world, due to the triumph of economic neo-liberalism, which began in the early 1990s, which was eagerly embraced by the richest families in India. Everyone knows there is a wealth gap in India, but the degree of inequality is stunning.
India has developed incredible wealth for a tiny minority. India’s economy, Asia’s 3rd largest, has grown at 9% per year for past 4 years. The top 10 percent of India’s population owns between 33 to 50 percent of the country’s wealth, Some 1.8 million households earning $100,000 or more a year, spend a tenth of that on luxury goods. 
The concentration of wealth among super-rich is particularly striking. Mumbai alone has more billionaires than all of Scandinavia, but half the 13 million population lives in slums. 
India has 53 billionaires in a population of 1 billion (5 millionths of a percent), and their wealth is equivalent to 31% of India’s GDP. India ranks 4th in world in number of billionaires, after US, Russia, and Germany, but India’s billionaires richer than Russia’s or Germany’s. India is ahead of Japan, China, UK, France, for example.  Luxury malls with gold-plated ceilings are proliferating across India., right next to slums. 
The vast majority of people in India now live in incredible poverty. 80% of India’s population earn about $5 per week, and live on 50 US cents per day.  In 2007, India was 94th out of 118 nations in the Global Hunger Index, below Ethiopia, for example.  As India’s neoliberalism developed full force in the late 1990s, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh had half the world’s hungry people, yet together they had 50 million tons of surplus grain.  One fifth of the world’s 500,000 women who died in childbirth in 2007 were from India. 
In the UN’s Human Development Index, (a composite of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita), India scores 128 in world, behind desperately poor, ravaged areas with no wealth such as Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Botswana, and even the occupied areas of Palestine. 
The situation for farmers in India, 60% of the population, is so desperate that between 1997-2007, according to government figures,166,000 Indian farmers killed themselves. From 2001 to 2006, Indian farmers killed themselves at the rate of one every half-hour. 
International corporate takeover of seed, pesticide, and fertilizer markets since 1991 have raised cultivation costs from $50 per acre to $300 per acre. Farmers growing food cannot afford to plant enough to feed themselves, so they have to buy grain, whose prices have skyrocketed. 60% of outlays in farm households, averaging $12 per person, goes for food. 
Farmers are particularly desperate in areas that followed IMF directives to abandon food crops and plant cash crops. For example, India is the world’s second biggest producer of cotton. US subsidies to US cotton-farming corporations exceed the value of the cotton itself, so cheap US cotton imports have flooded India and driven income to India’s cotton farmers down 70%., while cultivation cost have increased six-fold since 1991. Farmer suicides in cotton-growing areas occur once every six hours. 
Indian farmers are unable to get $100 loans for seed or fertilizer because of 14% interest rates, while in the cities, middle-class professionals are approached by banks to borrow tens of thousands at 4% interest to buy Mercedes cars. 
Finally, Government investment in agricultural development, like irrigation, decreased from 14% of GDP in 1991, to 6% in 2005. 
Muslims in India have an average literacy rate just higher than low-cast Hindus. Muslims are 13% of population but less than 5% of government posts, and only 4% of university undergraduates. Muslim poverty rate in urban areas is 38%, higher than low-cast Hindus. 
As Newsweek concludes, if there is a quantum of solace to be extracted from this tragedy, it’s that it serves as an urgent call to address the underlying causes of terrorism, the most pressing issue of our time, with a targeted effort to counteract the destabilizing effects of poverty, lack of basic education, health care and civil rights.  We have a simpler way of saying it: “No Justice, No Peace!”
Here is what they are telling us-----the global polls by Pew and Gallup are now simply propaganda tools ----this is why having our public universities free from corporate privatization is so important----this is where we have always gotten public interest data!
October 30, 2014
People in Emerging Markets Catch Up to Advanced Economies in Life Satisfaction Asians Most Optimistic about Future, Middle Easterners the Least
People in emerging economies are considerably more satisfied with their lives today than they were in 2007. A Pew Research Center survey finds that publics in emerging nations now rival those in advanced economies in their self-reported well-being. The rise in happiness among middle income countries is driven in large part by attitudes in Asian nations, such as China, Indonesia and Malaysia. People in developing economies are also happier today than they were seven years ago, though the improvement has been more modest.
Measuring Life Satisfaction To measure respondents’ well-being, we used a standard survey question that asks where respondents place themselves on the “ladder of life” with a scale from 0 to 10. The exact question wording is:
Here is a ladder representing the “ladder of life.” Let’s suppose the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom, the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder do you feel you personally stand at the present time?
The convergence in attitudes between middle and high income nations is not due to a significant decline in satisfaction in richer countries, despite the toll the global recession took on advanced economies’ growth rates. Personal well-being changed little in most of the wealthier nations surveyed in both 2007 and 2014, including the U.S., the UK and Japan. A key exception is Spain, where life satisfaction dropped 12 percentage points over the past seven years amid considerable economic tumult.
National income continues to be closely linked to personal life satisfaction at the country level. Richer publics, on average, report being happier. For example, Malaysians (56% saying their life is a 7 or higher on 0-10 scale) rate their lives considerably higher than people in Bangladesh (34%), a much poorer country. However, the advantages of being in a rich nation tend to taper off among the wealthiest countries, suggesting that after a certain point, increasing income does not make as much of a difference in life satisfaction. To continue with the example, despite the enormous gap in GDP per capita between Malaysia and Germany, these two publics express similar levels of life satisfaction (56% and 60%, respectively).1
Wealth also has a significant effect on who is happy within a country. Individuals with higher incomes, more education, more key household goods and paid employment are more satisfied with their lives than people who are less well-off. This is consistent with findings from extensive research done by others on this topic.2 Other characteristics also matter, however. Women tend to be happier than men. And there is a life-cycle effect: married people are more satisfied than unmarried individuals and middle-aged people tend to report lower well-being than both younger and older people. (Appendix B provides details on the statistical analysis behind these findings as well as more information about the literature on this topic.)
When asked about specific aspects of their lives, publics in nearly all emerging and developing economies are less satisfied with the economic realm, such as their job or standard of living, than with the personal arena, such as family, friends, or religion.3 Satisfaction with their material well-being, though, has the biggest positive impact on their overall happiness.
While wealth is a key factor in life satisfaction, it is not the only one, and emerging market publics vary considerably in how happy they are. Latin American countries are much more satisfied than other emerging nations. Argentines, Mexicans and Peruvians are also considerably happier today than they were in 2002. People in the Middle East, on the other hand, are especially dissatisfied with their current life situation.4 Egypt and Jordan, in particular, exhibited some of the largest declines in satisfaction over the past seven years, perhaps due to the political and social upheaval in these countries and the region.
When asked about the next five years, Asian and African publics are the most optimistic among emerging and developing countries. People in the Middle East are the least hopeful about the future.
The survey also finds that emerging and developing publics prioritize a few key essentials in life, including their health, their children’s education and being safe from crime, with financial security not far behind. Fewer people say internet access, car ownership, free time or the ability to travel is very important in their life. However, young people tend to value internet access much more than the older generation.
These are among the key findings of a Pew Research Center survey, conducted in 43 countries among 47,643 respondents from March 17 to June 5, 2014. The question about where people stand on the ladder of life was asked in all 43 countries, and this report generally focuses on the differences and similarities in life satisfaction across economically advanced, emerging and developing nations. All other questions included in the report were only asked in emerging and developing economies, and the analysis on these questions is focused on the significant differences across regions.
Richer Publics More Satisfied with Life On average, people in advanced and emerging economies are considerably happier with their life situation than those in developing economies. On a ladder where 10 represents the best possible life and 0 represents the worst possible life, a median of 53% in rich nations say they currently stand somewhere between 7 and 10. Half in emerging markets say the same compared with just about a third in developing economies (34%).
Israel, the U.S., Germany and the UK stand out as the happiest among advanced economies, with roughly six-in-ten or more saying they are near the top of life’s ladder. The Greeks are the least satisfied, and the only advanced public where a significant percentage places themselves near the bottom of the ladder (21% saying 0,1,2 or 3).
In 12 of the 24 emerging markets, at least half rate their life satisfaction highly. Latin American publics are the most content, with roughly two-thirds or more in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina saying they are doing well. About six-in-ten or more say the same in several Asian countries including Vietnam, China and Indonesia. Middle Eastern publics, such as people in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt, tend to be the least satisfied among emerging nations. In addition, few Ukrainians are happy with their current life situation, perhaps reflecting the considerable turmoil in their country. In each of these four nations, about two-in-ten or more put themselves at the bottom of the ladder with a rating of three or below, including nearly a third (31%) in Egypt.
People in developing economies are much less satisfied with their lives than those in either advanced or emerging nations. In just two of the nine developing countries surveyed do more than half rate their life situation highly. And in four nations, a quarter or more say they are dissatisfied with their life today, including 30% in Tanzania who give a rating of three or below, 29% in Uganda, and 25% each in Ghana and Kenya.
Life satisfaction is strongly related to national per capita income, though the relationship is not one-to-one. As per capita income rises in a country, individuals are much more likely to be satisfied with their personal situation. However, the increase in life satisfaction due to national income starts to level off among richer countries. So, while South Africans (49%) are richer and considerably happier than Ghanaians (25%), they are nearly as satisfied as the much wealthier French (51%).
Rising Incomes and Increasing Happiness Further evidence that higher incomes can improve perceived well-being, at least up to a point, is the substantial change in life satisfaction in emerging markets over the past seven years. In eight of the 14 emerging countries surveyed in both 2007 and 2014, the percentage who say they stand at seven or higher on the ladder of life increased by double-digits. Some of the biggest gains occurred in Indonesia, China, Pakistan, Malaysia and Russia. Egyptians, Ukrainians and Jordanians, on the other hand, are much less happy than in 2007. Looking back to 2002, the increase in life satisfaction is also substantial in Turkey, Argentina and Mexico.
Ratings among developing economies surveyed in 2007 and 2014 improved as well, though less dramatically. Ugandans and Palestinians5 are considerably happier today than seven years ago, but the increases in Tanzania and Ghana were smaller.
Meanwhile, attitudes in advanced economies have been relatively steady between 2007 and 2014. Even with the global recession and the decline in growth rates among advanced nations, reported well-being changed by less than five percentage points in Japan, Italy, South Korea, the U.S. and the UK. The one country that experienced a double-digit decline in satisfaction over the course of the recession was Spain. Meanwhile, Germans have become considerably happier over the same time period.
Just as richer countries are generally happier, those countries that experienced more GDP growth between 2007 and 2014 have also seen the biggest increases in life satisfaction over the same time period. For example, Malaysians had some of the highest economic growth since 2007 among the countries surveyed and they exhibited one of the biggest increases in life satisfaction. At the other end, the Spanish economy contracted between 2007 and 2014, and life satisfaction in the country decreased significantly. While there is a clear relationship between GDP growth and change in well-being, China is unique in the magnitude of such shifts since 2007. China’s GDP grew by an average of 10% and life satisfaction increased by 26 percentage points over the past seven years.
On Average, Richer Individuals More Content There is also a strong relationship between wealth and life satisfaction among individuals within a country. Richer people are more likely than poorer people to report being happy with their current life situation. This manifests itself in the survey in two ways. First, higher income individuals rate their well-being more highly than lower income individuals.6 For example, 68% of higher income Germans rate their current situation at seven or higher on the ladder of life, compared with 48% of lower income Germans. The difference between higher and lower income individuals is significant in 28 of the countries surveyed, and the gap is 10 percentage points or higher in most nations.
Second, individuals with more key household goods are happier than those with fewer of these goods. The survey asked respondents whether their household had each of the following nine items: a television, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave oven, computer, car, bicycle, motorcycle/scooter and radio. The more items a person has on this list, the happier they tend to be.7 For example, in South Africa, 62% of people who have more household goods say they are satisfied with their life situation, compared with just 39% of people who have fewer of these possessions. The difference is significant in 37 of the countries surveyed, and again, the magnitude of the gap is 10 percentage points or higher in most countries.
The number of household goods an individual has is clearly related to their income. Nonetheless, multivariate regression analysis shows that the number of goods a person owns has an impact on their reported well-being even when controlling for income levels. So, if two people make the same amount of money, the person who owns more of these key household goods will, on average, be happier. For more details on this analysis, please see Appendix B.
Emerging and Developing Publics Happy with Health, Personal Life In emerging and developing economies, people are most satisfied with their current health (global median of 70% saying 7,8,9 or 10) and the personal aspects of their life, including their family (69%), religion (68%) and social life (65%). Somewhat lower down the satisfaction scale are neighborhood safety (62%), the quality of schools in their community (57%), their standard of living (54%) and present job (54%). Nonetheless, there are clear regional differences.
In Asia, religion tends to be the area of life where individuals receive the most satisfaction. Roughly eight-in-ten or more in Indonesia (90%), Malaysia (85%), the Philippines (80%), Pakistan (79%) and Thailand (78%) say they are happy with their religious life. In China, health (79%) pops up as the most satisfying, while in Vietnam it is the safety of their neighborhood (77%). In India, the highest rated aspect is their social life (69%) followed closely by their health, family and religion (68% each). In nearly every country surveyed in Asia the lowest ratings go to either their present job (regional median of 60%) or their standard of living (58%).
Similarly, most publics surveyed in Africa say religion is their happiest area of life. Senegalese (92%), Nigerians (84%), Ugandans (78%) and Ghanaians (78%) are the most satisfied with their religious life. And, as in Asia, African publics rate their standard of living and job lowest. Roughly a third or fewer in Ghana (34%), Kenya (25%), Uganda (25%) and Tanzania (17%) say they are happy with their material well-being.
Middle Easterners also give their standard of living dismal ratings. Just 31% of Tunisians, 27% of Jordanians and 20% of Egyptians say they are happy with their material well-being. Across all 33 emerging and developing countries, Egyptians tend to be among the least satisfied with every aspect of life asked about. The area that publics in the Middle East are most satisfied with varies considerably across countries – Tunisians are happiest with their family (76%), Turks (73%) and Jordanians (57%) with their neighborhood safety, Palestinians with their religion (71%) and Egyptians are split between their religious life and their health (49% each).
In Eastern Europe, Poles (75%) and Ukrainians8 (62%) are most satisfied with the safety of their neighborhood while Russians cite their family life (56%). Again, standard of living is the least satisfying in Poland and Ukraine, with Ukrainians especially unhappy with their material well-being (27%). Russians, meanwhile, are least happy with their religious life (35%).
Latin Americans differ from people in other regions in their concerns. In five of nine countries surveyed, people are least satisfied with the safety of their neighborhoods, including just 49% in Argentina, 47% in Venezuela and 45% in Brazil. Chileans (49%) and Peruvians (46%) also rate their neighborhood security poorly, but they are even less satisfied with the quality of the schools in their communities (39% and 40%, respectively). Consistent with other publics around the world, however, Nicaraguans (60% standard of living and job) and Salvadorans (54% job) are least happy with the economic aspects of their life. Across all countries surveyed in Latin America the area that brings the most joy is their family (regional median of 83%).
There are some clear demographic divides in who is happy and who is not with the different aspects of life. In nearly all countries, young people (age 18-29) are considerably more satisfied with their health than people age 50 and older. And in many countries, higher income individuals and those with more education are happier than lower income and less educated people with their standard of living, job, health, social life and family life. Income and education differences do not emerge in most countries when it comes to religion, neighborhood safety or schools.
While, in general, people in developing and emerging nations are happier with the personal aspects of their lives than with the economic ones, it is satisfaction with their standard of living that has the biggest impact on their overall happiness. People who rate their standard of living highly are much more likely than people who rate it poorly to say they are doing well. This relationship holds even when controlling for demographics and satisfaction with other aspects of life. For more details on the results, please see Appendix B.
Evaluating the Past and the Future Many people in emerging and developing nations believe they have made progress in recent years. Asian publics in particular say they are now better off when asked to rate their lives today and their lives five years ago. At least half in Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and India express this sentiment.
Many publics in Africa and Latin America also think they have made progress over the past five years, though considerable percentages rate their current situation as worse. Brazilians, in particular, think life is better today. Ghanaians, on the other hand, are the most likely across all 33 emerging and developing countries to say they are worse off.
Eastern Europe and the Middle East see less progress and more lost ground. Nearly half in Ukraine say their life is worse today than it was five years ago. At least four-in-ten in Egypt, Tunisia and the Palestinian territories say the same.
In general, the countries where more people perceive they are better off today are the same countries where there has been a bigger increase in life satisfaction between the 2007 and 2014 surveys. For example, 66% of Chinese in 2014 say their life today is better than five years ago. Between the 2007 and 2014 surveys, the percentage of Chinese who rated their present life a seven or higher jumped by 26 percentage points. Egypt has one of the lowest percentages of people who say they have made progress in the past five years (32%). And between the 2007 and 2014 surveys, the percentage of Egyptians who say they are presently high on the ladder of life dropped 14 points.
Just as Asian publics are the most likely to say they have made progress in recent years, they are also the most optimistic about the next few years (regional median of 68% optimistic). In particular, broad majorities of Bangladeshis, Thais, Indonesians, Chinese, Filipinos and Indians expect their life in five years to be higher on the ladder than it is today. Pakistanis are considerably less sanguine about the future, but many say they don’t know where they will stand in five years (32%).
African nations are a very close second when it comes to optimism (regional median of 66%). Broad majorities in six of the seven African countries surveyed say their life will be better in five years. The one exception is South Africa, where half are optimistic for the future. Still, just 18% in South Africa think things will be worse.
Latin Americans are also generally positive about the future, especially Brazilians, Colombians, Peruvians and Nicaraguans. Salvadorans, Venezuelans and Mexicans are somewhat more pessimistic, with roughly two-in-ten saying life will get worse for them personally.
People in Eastern Europe and the Middle East tend to be more pessimistic about the next five years. Egyptians, Jordanians, Palestinians and Poles are the most likely among all 33 countries to say their life will worsen.
People Prioritize Nonmaterial Aspects of Life The analysis of who is happy – and who is not – reveals that people with higher incomes and more household goods are more satisfied with life in general. But when individuals were asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 10 what is most important to them in life, nonmaterial things, such as good health (global median of 68% saying “10 – very important”), quality education for their children (65%) and safety from crime (64%), top the list. Still, owning a home (62%), a comfortable retirement (53%) and a fulfilling job (53%) are also ranked highly. Less important tends to be helping others (39%), owning a cell phone (39%), having free time for yourself (38%) and owning a car (34%). At the bottom of the list is being able to travel (29%) and having internet access (24%).
Good health is – or ties for – the most important thing to have in life in 22 of the 33 countries surveyed. Similarly, internet access is – or ties for – the least important thing to have in life in 21 countries. These patterns hold across all regions surveyed.
Nonetheless, a few publics break the mold. Jordanians, Egyptians, Brazilians and Pakistanis tend to say safety from crime is more important than good health. Thais, Colombians, Argentines and Peruvians rank their child’s education as the highest priority, while the Indians and Tanzanians value both education and owning a home equally. Russians say helping others is their lowest priority, while being able to travel is least important to Poles, Tunisians, Thais, Vietnamese, the Chinese, Chileans, Nicaraguans, Tanzanians and South Africans.
Access to the internet ranks low on the priority list for most publics. However, there are stark differences by age and education in the importance of the internet. In most countries, young people and more highly educated individuals assign higher priority to accessing the internet than older people and less educated individuals. For example, in Chile, 54% of 18 to 29 year olds say it is very important to be able to use the internet compared with 17% of those age 50 or older. Large double-digit gaps in attitudes between the young and old on internet access also exist in Ukraine (+32), Poland (+28), Thailand (+28), Brazil (+27), Russia (+25), Tunisia (+25), El Salvador (+24), Turkey (+22) and Malaysia (+23). Similar differences by education exist in Chile (+27), Tunisia (+23), El Salvador (+23) and Senegal (+23).