Thursday, February 16, 2012

ECONOMY Survey -- The Economist and Hawaii Results

I like people, global and local issues, and numbers ... so I present a mini-series of surveys on major issues which have been debated at The Economist. Obviously the results only represent people with at least a basic level of computer and Internet savvy. However, the results may be sufficiently indicative because most questions along with the careful wording of questions lead to a straightforward answer: Agree, Disagree or Do Not Know. The Economist has received a few thousand responses to each of their questions. I post results only when Hawaii surveys exceed 100 responses.

ECONOMY Survey Results (click to take the survey, part 1, and economy survey part 2.)

The results are summarized in the Table and discussed below.

The first three issues shown in the table results in solid agreement for both Economist and Hawaii respondents.
  • Brand AMERICA will regain its shine, although some may question whether brand AMERICA has lost its shine in the first place.
  • People do not have much faith in corporations to take measures towards sustainability. Although one might argue that it is people who force corporations to make "cheap" choices since they demand inexpensive products. You can't run an operation on solar power at current costs and expect to have a cost similar to a competitor using coal or hydro-electric power.
  • 75% of both Economist and Hawaii respondents agree that workers do not get enough sleep. This has important implication on weight gain, diabetes, productivity at work, safety in traffic and personal relations. How much of this is due to electronic gaming and social media engagement is an open question.

The next four issues show a solid disagreement between Economist and Hawaii respondents.

  • Almost 75% believe that China's currency won't be a reserve currency any time soon. Currently the basket of reserve currencies include the US Dollar, the Euro and the British Pound but dollar super dominated the basket accounting for 890-100% of most reserve applications.
  • A woman's place is at work is a controversial statement; it is the only statement for which I received complaining emails. Recall that The Economist has developed all these statements. Economist respondents give a slim margin of disagreement to this, but two thirds of Hawaii respondents do not agree that a woman's place is at work.
  • Almost 75% believe that senior company executives are not worth what they are paid. No surprise here and both the perception of the respondents and the reality are so, in my opinion.
  • The clear majority of the respondents do not agree that sustainable development is unsustainable. In other words, they believe that we can continue to develop but in a sustainable, Earth-friendly manner. Sure, but only up to a point. There will likely be too many challenges to overcome one Earth's population approaches 10 billion people. This bring up the divisive issue of population. (See below.)
The remaining four issues reveal opposing views between Economist and Hawaii responses.
  • 80% of Economist responses believe that the world would be better off with fewer people, but only 42% of "spirit of aloha" Hawaii respondents think so. Are we seeing the result of Western selfish culture and Hawaii's more accepting multi-ethnic culture?
  • Who should pay for higher education? Almost 80% of socialist-minded European respondents of the Economist want the state to pay. Free market minded Hawaii respondents make this an individual pocket-book and career choice.
  • Economist respondents come from industrial nations so it's no surprise that 78% feel that an economy cannot succeed without a big manufacturing base. In Hawaii with its sparse and light industrial base the response is about 50-50.
  • Again socialist-minded European respondents are split about 50-50 on the effect of government regulation of business finance, but Hawaii respondents are resoundingly against multi-billion bailouts and the ropes (not strings) that come attached to them.