According to the data published by the Edelman 2023 Trust Barometer, it has been revealed which countries are the most polarized, with Argentina at the top of the list.
How can you quantify something that has been in the media for five years but is still challenging to measure? We’re discussing polarization.
In the social sciences, polarization can refer to everything from racial segregation to differences in labor skill levels (pdf below), class division, and political ideology.
How Do You Quantify Polarization?
The survey results that Edelman used to determine which nations are the most divisive asked respondents just two straightforward questions:
- How divided is their country?
- How entrenched is the divide?
The questions assist in highlighting the socioeconomic problems a specific nation is dealing with as well as the lack of agreement on those problems.
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A chart forms as the data are plotted against one another. The top-right country on the graph is one that is “severely polarised.” Less polarised nations are those that are closer to the lower left.
Four metrics that should be kept an eye on and measured to assist quantify polarisation are listed in the research by Edelman.
According to Edelman’s measures, polarization is more prevalent in nations that experience economic insecurity, inequality, and institutional distrust. We examine some of the chart’s major highlights below.
Severely Polarized Countries
Argentina is by far the most polarized nation in the study, despite having one of the biggest economies in Latin America. The nation is currently experiencing a perfect storm brought on by foreign loan defaults, a large fiscal deficit, and rising inflation.
In Argentina, 43% of respondents indicated their situation will be better in five years, a decrease of 17% from the previous year.
Along with ongoing governmental corruption and rapid policy changes between governments, Argentinians also have to contend with financial turmoil. The lowest percentage of all the countries questioned, 20% of respondents in Argentina said they trusted the government.
Here are all six of the countries considered to be severely polarized:
- United States
- South Africa
In the United States, increased political polarisation between Democrats and Republicans over the past few years has resulted in hardening ideological positions and a deluge of news articles about it. In the nation, only 42% of respondents say they trust the government.
And according to Edelman’s measures, South Africa also has persisting inequality and declining trust in the African National Congress. According to the report, it also has the second-lowest level of trust in government, behind Argentina (22%).
Moderately Polarized Countries
With all continents represented, the largest cluster of 15 countries is in the moderately polarised region of the graph.
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Heavyweights in the world of business including Japan, the UK, France, and Germany are among those that are on the verge of becoming very polarised. On the polarisation chart, smaller economies like Thailand, Kenya, and Nigeria are performing comparably well.
Less Polarized Countries
The bottom left corner of the chart is home to countries such as China, Singapore, and India that have a good economic outlook and a high level of institutional trust.
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
Three of the seven countries in that sector are not democracies, which is an interesting observation. However, there are also more emerging nations on this list, which may possibly be a contributing factor.
According to Edelman, the division is a “cause and consequence of distrust,” leading to a vicious cycle. In addition to the four measures mentioned above, worries about the breakdown of decency and the fraying of the social fabric also contribute to polarization.
It will be interesting to see how nations may change their stances in 2023 as global events play out, including impending concerns of a recession.
Read the report given below: