Majority of world population support globalism, survey finds

A poll commissioned by the World Economic Forum found that the global public were strong believers in countries working together. The results will be discussed by panels at this year's WEF. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (BLOOMBERG) - Maybe populist political movements don't have as much support as often presumed.

The global public favours cooperation between nations, thinks immigration is a good thing and believes climate scientists, according to a poll of 10,000 people in every region of the world.

The poll was commissioned by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and will be discussed at panels at this year's meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

People in South-east Asia and Africa were the strongest believers in countries working together, with 88 per cent saying it's extremely or very important.

The least enthusiastic region was Western Europe, where 61 per cent held that view. In North America, the figure was 70 per cent. Worldwide, it was 76 per cent.

A global majority of 57 per cent said immigrants were "mostly good" for their new country, but only 40 per cent of Eastern Europeans thought so. Despite the continuing stand-off in the United States over building a wall along the Mexican border, 66 per cent of North Americans had a positive view of migrants.

One theme where there's less optimism is social mobility, with only 20 per cent of Western Europeans and 34 per cent of Americans saying it is common to be born poor and become rich.

Across the world, 54 per cent have trust in climate scientists. But in North America, only 17 per cent do.

Meanwhile, WEF founder Klaus Schwab said the annual meeting remains relevant even though US President Donald Trump and other major world leaders have announced they would not attend it this year.

Mr Trump called off his attendance earlier this month because of the government shutdown, and as it extended last Thursday, also cancelled the planned trip of a US delegation, which included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron also won't participate at this year's meeting.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazil's recently sworn-in President Jair Bolsonaro will be the leaders topping the list of attendees at the Davos gathering which begins on Tuesday (Jan 22).

The planned meeting between US and Chinese delegations "was supposed to be one of the highlights this year", but there will still be about 800 participants from the US, "including the heads of the biggest companies", Professor Schwab told the Geneva-based newspaper Le Temps in an interview published on Saturday.

"We can also count on the presence of about 60 heads of state," he said. "This proves that Davos remains unavoidable."

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