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GenNext faces more danger, says study

Geneva, January 17, 2008

The next generation will live in a more dangerous world, according to nearly half of the respondents in a global survey. It also showed lack of optimism among people about future economic prosperity.

Respondents in the global survey carried out for the World Economic Forum were asked about prospects for a safer and more economically prosperous world but the results show there is still lack of optimism on both counts, most notably in Western Europe and North America.

The survey, now in its fifth year, also found that business leaders are widely held in better esteem than their political counterparts but significant proportions still criticise both sets of leaders, with dishonesty heavily associated with political leaders.

Gallup International questioned 61,600 people in 60 countries for the “Voice of the People” survey. The interviews, which were carried out between October and December 2007, represent the views of almost 1.5 billion global citizens. The survey comes ahead of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 in Davos (January 23-27). This year’s theme is: The Power of Collaborative Innovation.

Commenting on the survey findings, Klaus Schwab, executive chairman and founder of the World Economic Forum, said: “The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos is the most comprehensive meeting in the world for tackling the increasingly complex problems that face us all. This survey shows that if we are to restore confidence in the future, we need to take concerted, global action. The Annual Meeting brings together a unique group of the world’s leading business and political leaders as well as the heads of the world’s most important NGOs and religious and cultural leaders. It is here that we can once again focus on the issues that face us all and make a positive contribution to improving the state of our world.

“This survey is unmatched in its ability to gauge the views and the mood of the people of the whole world. No other poll can match the Voice of the People survey to capture what the world is really thinking, and what it demands of its leaders,” added Meril James, secretary-general of Gallup International Association, which carried out the research.

The findings are remarkably consistent with last year’s results. Opinions about whether the next generation will live in a safer world show similar levels of pessimism compared to previous years – a quarter (25 per cent) think the world will either be a lot or a little safer but they are outweighed by almost half of all respondents (48 per cent) who feel that the next generation will live in a little or a lot less safe world.

Regionally, Western Europe is the most pessimistic region in the world about future prospects for safety – two-thirds (69 per cent) in this region feel the next generation will live in a less safe world (either a lot less safe or a little less safe) while only one in ten (11 per cent) feel the world will be a lot or a little safer for the next generation.

North America (USA and Canada) is the next most pessimistic region, with six out of ten (62 per cent) also supporting the view that the world will be a less safe place for future generations, while only 13 per cent felt that the world would be a safer place. It is also worth noting that two-thirds of the Americans interviewed (61 per cent) also held the view that the world would be a less safe place for future generations with slightly more than one in ten (14 per cent) maintaining the opposite view that the world would be either a lot or a little safer.

However, in the Middle East, an area of the world that has experienced many conflicts in recent times, the region’s population is still not upbeat about prospects for safety in the future. Almost a quarter of those interviewed (23 per cent) feel it will be safer (a lot or a little), compared with more than half (51 per cent) who feel the opposite.

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Tags: prosperity | danger | WEF study |

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