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Global Survey Reveals Wide Support for an Equitable ‘New Normal’ Post-Pandemic

A global Ipsos survey conducted for the World Economic Forum this past summer reveals a deep, widely-shared desire that the world not return to its profoundly inequitable and unsustainable pre-COVID “normal”.

In the survey, which polled more than 21,000 adults from 28 countries, “nearly nine in ten say they are ready for their life and the world to change,” writes WEF. Further, “72% would like their own lives to change significantly and 86% want the world to become more sustainable and equitable, rather than going back to how it was before the COVID-19 crisis started.”

Most anxious to pursue positive changes were the citizens of Russia and Colombia (94% each), followed by three other South American countries (Peru, Mexico, and Chile, all at 93%). Next came South Africa (91%), Argentina (90%), and Saudi Arabia (89%).

Those whose citizens were most resistant to change, at least as framed by the Ipsos query, were South Korea (27%), Germany (22%), the Netherlands (21%), the United States (21%), and Japan (18%).

Even in those countries, however, the survey showed a clear majority in favour of an equitable and sustainable global shift, with 79% of Americans surveyed, for example, saying the unfair and unsustainable pre-COVID world should be left behind.

Asked whether they wanted their own lives to change significantly, 72% of those surveyed expressed strong (30%) or partial (41%) consent. Latin American, in particular, “stands out for its optimism,” alongside Saudi Arabia (86%), South Africa (86%), Malaysia (86%), and India (85%).

Those already more likely to have possessed a degree of security in their pre-COVID lives were less likely to support major change. The survey found that “at least two out of five adults in the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, the U.S., the UK, and Canada long for their life to just return to how it was before the pandemic.”

While “the technology to transform things tends to outpace the human will to change,” commented WEF Managing Director Dominic Waughray, the pandemic has broken down such innate conservativism, leaving humanity “at a pivot point where we can use the social momentum of this crisis to avert the next one.”