An overwhelming 91 per cent of people in Bangladesh say it is important for them to live in a country that is democratically governed while 63 per cent of Bangladeshis believe the rise of China will have a positive impact on their economy, according to a survey of Open Society Foundation.
US-based Open Society Foundation released the survey tilted “Open Society Barometer: Can Democracy Deliver?” on Monday.
Between May and July, Open Society Foundation team and partners surveyed over 36,000 respondents in a representative group of 30 countries, including Bangladesh, around the world and these countries have a combined population of over 5.5 billion people.
The Open Society Barometer is “one of the largest studies of global public opinion on human rights and democracy ever conducted” and it serves as a global reality check, painting a picture of the attitudes, concerns, and hopes of people across 30 countries, Open Society Foundation said.
According to the study findings, younger people hold the least faith in democracy of any age group, presenting a grave threat to its future. Eighty-six per cent of respondents say they want to live in a democracy and only 20 per cent believe that authoritarian countries can deliver “what citizens want.”
Seventy-two per cent of respondents across the globe believe that human rights have been a “force for good” in the world, and 71 per cent agree that “human rights reflect values that I believe in.” In Bangladesh, 88 per cent of people believe human rights have been a force for good in the world, the survey finds.
Besides, authoritarianism appeals to some, especially the young. Just 57 per cent of 18-35-year-olds think democracy is preferable to any other form of government, compared to 71 per cent of older respondents.
The study found equity and justice made little progress across the countries surveyed. The ability of leaders to deliver outcomes at the national level raises questions at a time when one in two respondents (49 per cent) have worried about putting food on the table.
In Bangladesh, 18 per cent of respondents said they struggled every day to feed themselves and their families in the past year while 15 per cent did so weekly and 11 per cent did so monthly and 46 per cent said they faced no struggle to eat in the past year, it said.
The study findings said respondents in most high-income countries believe their governments should increase assistance, but they are less enthusiastic about giving low-income countries a greater say in decision-making
According to the survey, 58 per cent—and majorities in 22 of the 30 countries polled—are worried that political unrest in their countries could lead to violence in the next year. In Bangladesh, that figure rises to 70 per cent.
Of the countries surveyed, 84 per cent respondents think lending countries should help countries struggling with debt by cancelling, reducing, or renegotiating repayment conditions. Seventy-five per cent want high-income countries to increase overseas aid and 71 per cent believe they should compensate low-income countries for economic loss due to climate change.
In Bangladesh, 88 per cent of respondents agree that high-income countries should take the lead on compensating low-income countries for economic losses caused by climate change, the survey found.
The survey also found respondents consider climate change as a major concern and it has increasingly been seen as a personal issue. Seventy per cent are anxious that climate change will affect their lives next year and it ranks as the most important issue facing the world today, alongside poverty and inequality.
Corruption is seen as the biggest national problem as trust in national and local politicians was low in most of the countries covered. In Bangladesh, 62 per cent of respondents said they trust national politicians to work in their best interests.
According to the study, migration is highly visible but of low concern as two-thirds of the total respondents want to see more safe and legal routes for migrants. Eighty-three per cent of respondents in Bangladesh, the second largest refugee-hosting country across the world, believe countries should open up more safe and legal routes for refugees, and that figure falls to 58 per cent in US, 55 per cent in UK and 39 per cent in Germany.
The study findings said respondents in most high-income countries believe their governments should increase assistance, but they are less enthusiastic about giving low-income countries a greater say in decision-making.
Eighty-five per cent of respondents in Bangladesh agree lower-income countries should have more of a say in global decision-making, but the figure drops gradually to 68 per cent in India, 50 per cent in China, 49 per cent each in the US and the UK, 45 per cent in Germany, 33 per cent in Japan and 29 per cent in Russia.
The US States and the UK come out top when people select countries aligned with their values. Respondents gravitated to established regional powers when asked about expanding the UN Security Council. And they prefer to get financial support from international institutions. Only 10 per cent would want their government to borrow from China.
However, 63 per cent of people in Bangladesh believe the rise of China will have a positive impact on their economy and 14 per cent say it will have a negative impact.