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Muslim Countries More Bullish On Globalization Than US

The University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and recently conducted a poll in six nations: Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Indonesia, and the Palestinian Territories, plus the Muslim population of Nigeria. The results are interesting -- contrary to the common assumption that Muslims view globalization as a threat to their society, these results taken in predominantly Muslim countries finds that globalization is generally viewed positively.

Asked about "globalization, especially the increasing connections of our economy with others around the world," majorities in six of the seven publics polled say that it is "mostly good" for their country. Approval is highest among Egyptians and Nigerian Muslims (79% and 78% saying mostly good, respectively). Turkey is the only country whose support does not reach a majority (39% good, 28% bad). On average across all seven publics, 63 percent say that globalization is good for their own countries. Only 25 percent think it is mostly bad.

Most people in these predominantly Muslim countries also have positive attitudes about international trade. Majorities or pluralities in five of six nations see international trade as good for their countries' companies.

Majorities in every population polled also think trade is good for consumers (on average 63%) and for their own standard of living (on average 56%).

Views of the effect of international trade on their country's workers and the environment are more mixed. On average across the six populations, 44 percent say international trade has a bad effect and 42 percent saying it has a good effect on the environment.

However most respondents express interest in addressing the negative effects of trade on the environment and workers; robust majorities support requiring minimum standards for protection of the environment and workers in international trade agreements (84%, and 80%, on average).

It's not like there's no history to draw on -- after all, the Med and Persian Gulf have been hubs of trade for millenia. Although I find it ironic that more Egyptians support globalization than do, say, Ohioans, I do believe that more economic interaction can only help to integrate and assimilate these crucial stakeholders into the growing global economy.

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