Global Economic Optimism: It’s All About the Oil

I see that it’s not just here but that people all over the world are becoming discouraged about economic prospects:

Around the world, people have a new concern: slumping economic conditions. And they have a familiar complaint – most think the U.S. is having a considerable influence on their economy, and it is largely seen as a negative one.

Majorities in 18 of the 24 countries surveyed describe current economic conditions in their country as bad. Assessments have worsened over the past year among countries surveyed in both this year and 2007. The median percentage rating their national economy as bad rose from 50% in 2007 to 61% in the current poll. The proportion of respondents expressing a positive view of their nation’s economy has declined in 14 of the 22 countries since last year.

The publics of two emerging Asian superpowers – China and India – remain upbeat about national economic conditions, though Indians are less positive than they were a year ago.

I wouldn’t wonder if the degree of optimism weren’t a direct function of two variables: economic growth and how insulated consumers in a particular country are from the actual price of gasoline.

Countries whose people are discouraged because the uncertain U. S. economy is dragging their own economies down might consider developing their domestic economies. Economies that are based disproportionately on foreign trade are bound to be disproportionately affected by big importing countries. But if complaining about the U. S. makes them feel better they might stick with that instead.

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