National identity, democracy and liberty: what\'s in store for 2017?

National identity, democracy and liberty: what's in store for 2017?


In February 2016, we fielded a study to survey 11,976 men and women aged 18+ in 37 markets: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Who Are Prosumers ?

Prosumers are today’s leading influencers and market drivers—and they’ve been a focus of Havas Worldwide and BETC studies for more than a decade. Beyond their own economic impact, Prosumers are important because they influence the brand choices and consumption behaviors of others. What Prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers will likely be doing 6 to 18 months from now.


A perennial global economic crisis, widespread global political corruption, increase in income inequalities, the war on terror, the immigration influx in Europe are all issues that have triggered daunting thoughts about the future. And so, all over the world we see the rise of the worry that the worst is yet to come. In these times of uncertainty, the only certainty is chaos and optimism for more progress is scarce.

Our best mechanism to cope with all these crises? Looking back to the things we know well - turning toward values of the past; in the comfort zone of our family, in the familiarity of our religion and today, in the familiarity of our country: 75% of Prosumers globally are proud of their country. In France, the large gap between Prosumers and Mainstream (77% Prosumers versus 58% of Mainstream) suggests a new era of country pride for the French. This trend is also shared by Millennials: 69% globally are proud of their countries (equal to 69% of Mainstream). However, there are a few exceptions like Brazil and South Africa. Revelations of corruption and political upsets have embarrassed their population: 54% of Prosumers in Brazil and 45% in South Africa feel ashamed of their country.


In the past, it was cool to be a citizen of the world. But today people are getting more concerned over homogenization; even younger generations: 4 in 10 Millennials worry that in the future the world will become one homogeneous culture. The Internet is also under scrutiny: 43% of Prosumers globally think that globalization with the help of the Internet, is diminishing their country’s unique culture. This facilitates the comeback of national scale as a way to resist homogenization and maintain our distinctiveness. All over the world, people look at their national symbols with a renewed warmth: 89% of global and 66% of French Prosumers respect their country’s flag, while 89% global and 98% of French Prosumers think it’s important that children know the history of their country and its symbols (flag, national anthem, etc.). We have entered an era of neopatriotism; one that is under tension: on one hand, we see its fanatical sibling, nationalism, disseminating suspicions within our own communities: 71% of Prosumers globally are concerned about their fellow citizens’ lack of patriotism. On the other hand, we see its more positive side where patriotism is trendy and cool. Neopatriotism is seen as a civil act, it’s about loving and elevating the best of what makes up one’s country and sharing it with the rest of the world.

Furthermore, what makes proud citizens differs by culture and affects accordingly a country’s momentum. For some like France, US, Mexico and the UK pride is mired from the past and most notably their history. For others like Germany, China and Cambodia citizen pride is driven by the present and predominantly by their economic success. Those that combine both, like China and Singapore, enjoy the ultimate momentum and its citizens project more positively into their future.


Following the end of the Cold War, we accepted capitalism as the best possible functional economic system. Today, under the same token, democracy is unequivocally viewed as the best form of governance: 77% of Prosumers globally think that democracy is the best form of government. But people mistrust politicians and their authority: 69% of Prosumers are concerned about society’s loss of trusted leaders and 78% think it’s difficult for a ‘clean’ politician (one who does not cheat or lie) to get elected today. Today we have all the tools we need to look for and monitor the truth. However, fact checking is no longer the issue. We either don’t vote at all, or we vote for a candidate we know has lied in the past like many others before him/her. Facts are boring and stories are exciting especially when they are accompanied by a heroic promise. What we need is a leadership reboot: 64% of Prosumers prefer a national leader who is collaborative and inclusive and who makes decisions based on the will of the people.


What happens when fear takes over and probability reigns supreme? Can people still maintain their openness? For the moment, this seems unlikely because safety becomes our main priority. We expect government to take action in keeping us safe and we are willing to help: 53% of Prosumers globally are willing to give up some rights/personal liberties in order to feel safer. Giving up our own privacy is a small ‘price to pay’ when it comes to ensuring our security: 54% of Prosumers would support mounting cameras in public spaces to monitor people’s actions to increase national security. And since we are willing to give up our own liberties, it is easier to agree to sacrifice the rights of others as well: 39% of Prosumers would support measures to microchip all citizens convicted of a crime so that they can be monitored/tracked from then on, while 33% of global Prosumers would agree to put suspected terrorists in jail, even if they have not yet carried out an attack. In this state of fear and insecurity, people are conflicted between their values and reality. On one hand, 85% of Prosumers consider equality of all people under law to be an essential human right, but on the other, 44% would support banning immigrants coming from countries known to harbor terrorists.



See also