Which country has the right ideas about the economy and jobs? The US, says an overwhelming number of citizens in emerging markets.

Yes – the country with a ballooning debt, political gridlock and a plentiful supply of the unemployed was chosen over China and the EU as a country with the “right ideas”.

More than a third of Brazilians polled by Ipsos Mori, and over two fifths of Indians and Mexicans said their countries should copy the US. Many South Koreans and South Africans think similarly.

The Washington consensus may be more widely agreed upon than the name suggests.

The Ipsos Mori poll, commissioned by King’s College London, asked over 6,000 people around the world, “Which country or countries, if any, do you think have the right ideas about the economy and jobs that your country’s leaders should copy?” The results are below.

South Koreans seem enamoured by the EU, but don’t look too kindly on Chinese economics. Indonesians, by contrast, look to the Middle Kingdom for economic guidance.

About 30 per cent of Argentinians and Saudis said they “don’t know”. A fifth of Turkish respondents said, “None.” Over a fifth of Saudis also said Turkey was an economic role model.

When it comes to youth employment, citizens of the same countries cited the US as a role model, as shown below.

It’s a widely held view that Washington imposes its economic ideals on the poorer nations of the world through a collusion of international institutions (especially the IMF), corporations and world media. It’s worse than they think. A lot of citizens around the world seem to aspire to those ideals too.

Related reading:
[video] Return to the Washington consensus, FT Video
Emerging world needs a new economic model, FT

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