One of the defining characteristics of Americans used to be that, whatever our circumstances, almost all of us expected that our children and grandchildren would be better off than we are.
This is no longer true. And a Pew Research survey indicates that people in other supposedly advanced nations are more pessimistic than we are.
While 62 percent of Americans expect the next generation to be financially worse off than their parents, this pessimistic view is held by 64 percent of Canadians, 64 percent of Germans, 74 percent of the British, 76 percent of Japanese and 90 percent of the French.
The most optimistic nations in the world are China, where 82 percent of those surveyed said they expect a better future, and Brazil, where 79 percent are hopeful (see below). Among European countries, the least pessimistic was Russia.
I think survey results in China or any other dictatorship have to be taken with a certain amount of skepticism, but, even so, I am astonished at the differences among countries.
Hat tip to Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture.