Thursday, December 15, 2005

WEF Survey

A global public opinion survey carried out for the World Economic Forum in 20 countries, interviewing more than 20,000 citizens, paints an alarming picture of declining levels of trust. The survey, carried out by GlobeScan, shows that trust in a range of institutions has dropped significantly since January 2004 to levels not seen since the months following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. The poll also reveals that public trust in national governments and the United Nations has fallen the most over the past two years.
Click here for the full report and better quality graphs.

Of all the institutions examined, national governments have lost the most ground over the past two years. In twelve of the sixteen countries for which tracking data is available, public trust in the national government has declined by statistically significant margins, leaving only six of the tracking countries today with more citizens trusting their national government than distrusting them.

The major exception to these declining trust levels is Russia, where trust in the national government has increased steadily since 2001. Such consistent increases in trust are unique for any institution in any of the countries polled over this period.

In Russia, despite significant growth in trust, national companies are still distrusted by the majority.

My comment: I think this growth is due to two major facts: (1) trial over the Russian thug #1 Mr. Khodorkovskiy and (2) consequent “understanding” of survived oligarchs that this country is not their private property.

Decline in trust for NGOs is probably explained by the above mentioned Khodorkovskiy trial. It was outrageous when so many “independent” organizations spent millions and millions of dollars defending this thug – one of the worst human rights abuser in 90s.

It reminds me of a Russian joke. Mr. Ivanov returns from a Human Rights Watch conference in Moscow. “How was the conference?” he’s asked. - “It was really great. You know, guy, I was always mistrustful about all these abstract and surreal human rights. But now my eyes are open. Only it’s a pity that this Human should spend next 9 years of his life in jail.”

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