Pakistanis more optimistic than US, India about hard work: Survey

Published: July 31, 2012
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“Fundamentally, the survey reveals that Pakistanis haven’t lost faith in the country. The Pakistani youth believes that current problems are short-term and can be resolved,” said Asad Umar, who joined politics in April after resigning from Engro Corporation, Pakistan’s largest conglomerate, as its CEO.

“Fundamentally, the survey reveals that Pakistanis haven’t lost faith in the country. The Pakistani youth believes that current problems are short-term and can be resolved,” said Asad Umar, who joined politics in April after resigning from Engro Corporation, Pakistan’s largest conglomerate, as its CEO.

KARACHI: No matter what the prophets of doom say in nightly news shows on TV day in day out, an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis still believes that hard work is duly rewarded in the country and leads to material success, according to a recent poll by Pew Research Center — a nonpartisan “fact tank” in Washington DC.

In fact, of all the 21 countries where the survey was conducted, Pakistan came on top with 81% of respondents saying people succeed if they work hard as opposed to 15% who believe hard work is no guarantee of success.

The United States followed Pakistan with 77% of respondents saying hard work assured success. India, China and Japan were more sceptical with only 67%, 45% and 40% of the respondents recognising a close link between hard work and success, respectively.

“Fundamentally, the survey reveals that Pakistanis haven’t lost faith in the country. The Pakistani youth believes that current problems are short-term and can be resolved,” said Asad Umar, who joined politics in April after resigning from Engro Corporation, Pakistan’s largest conglomerate, as its CEO. “That’s why Pakistanis believe in hard work — and its direct relationship with material success – more than the people of the United States, Germany or Japan.”

The survey was conducted between March 28 and April 13 in all provinces face-to-face with 1,206 people of the age of 18 years or more.

While a majority of Pakistanis tend to have faith in the existing economic system to reward them with success if they work hard, less than half of Pakistanis approve of the free-market economy, reveals the survey. About 48% of the respondents think people are better off in a free-market economy, down from 65% three years ago.

“I’m not surprised that the percentage of people having faith in the free-market economy has dropped significantly in recent years. We don’t have a free-market economy. The sham system that’s in place is actually reflective of a rent-seeking economy, where self-interest is pursued shamelessly at the highest level of the government,” Umar said.

Talking to The Express Tribune, first-generation entrepreneur Shakir Husain, who is involved in several national and international ventures, said most Pakistanis don’t even understand the basics of the free-market economy.

“I’ve found that even educated Pakistanis are least versed in economics and the working of the free market. TV channels have added to the problem, where they tend to politicise structural issues that confuses people further,” he said.

The Pew survey also revealed that about 76% Pakistanis think that the economy will either worsen or stay the same in the next 12 months. The corresponding figures for India and China are 49% and 11%, respectively.

When asked if their standard of living is better than the standard of living of their parents when they were of their age said they are worse off.

Among those who think the economy is doing poorly, roughly one-third of the respondents in Pakistan held the United States responsible for bad economic conditions. Another one-third said that people are themselves to be blamed for the bad economy. On the other hand, almost two-thirds of the respondents in India blamed themselves for the bad economy.

“It’s easier for the average Pakistani to simply blame the entire ‘system’ without understanding the root of the problem. Also, our politicians and bureaucrats are not honest about their own shortcomings. Hence, the blame is put on ridiculous things,” Husain said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Wang Yu
    Jul 31, 2012 - 5:19AM

    We love Pakistan and Pakistani people. it proves that people are getting the right education and frame of mind as the time passes. I also see Pakistanis are very hard workers and are working in some the most technical and tough industries in almost every country around the globe from medical, engineering, aerospace, education, sports to simple labor etc. And we admire them as non -Pakistanis.
    Long live Pakistan China friendship.

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  • Moz
    Jul 31, 2012 - 6:13AM

    Well I don’t think there should be any doubt that hard work doesn’t guarantee success anywhere, unless u r living in a communist country.

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  • ali
    Jul 31, 2012 - 7:50AM

    good to hear this!!

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  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:19AM

    That’s Truth may be a blunt one for indian :)

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  • Norman
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:45AM

    Well saying and doing is a two different lane….Practice what you preach…

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  • Ibn Batoota ka Joota
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:57AM

    @Wang Yu. Thanks for the words of encouragement, dear Yu. I hope we learn some of the discipline and work ethics from China to complement our optimism.

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  • Indian
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:32AM

    @Naeem Siddiqui:
    That’s Truth may be a blunt one for indian :)
    A mason works harder than a businessman. Does that mean that mason leads a superior life?
    Poetic romance and real life are two different things. People resort to poetic romance (=fantasy) because they cannot achieve a better life in reality.
    Arabs don’t work hard because they have oil fields. Pakistanis/Indians work hard in Arabia because they have to survive on what they earn on that day. Don’t romanticize it… Poverty (the reason for working hard) is not something to celebrate…..

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  • Gratgy
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:37AM

    I think they are confused between hard work and hardly working

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  • usman
    Jul 31, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Despite all the hardship Pakistani people and state show resilence which no other nation could match. No country come up so ruthlessly against natural diaster like earthquake and floods and terrorism without much help from world except our all weather friend china. We have faith and we will succeed

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  • ashok sai
    Jul 31, 2012 - 10:40AM

    Pakistan came on top with 81% of respondents saying people succeed if they work hard as opposed to 15% who believe hard work is no guarantee of success.

    DREAM

    he Pew survey also revealed that about 76% Pakistanis think that the economy will either worsen or stay the same in the next 12 months.

    REALITY

    You cannot write ‘food’ on a paper and eat that too. (grass is a different altogether !)

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  • Imran
    Jul 31, 2012 - 1:28PM

    @Wang Yu : v love toooooooooooooooooo, God bless you …… Long live Pak China Friendship

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  • Asad
    Jul 31, 2012 - 2:16PM

    Tsk tsk why is anything positive about pakistan so difficult to digest for indians who keep on trolling pakistani sites just to post snide remarks.

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  • Mozart
    Jul 31, 2012 - 3:39PM

    I love my country.

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  • Cynical
    Jul 31, 2012 - 5:38PM

    @Wang Yu

    By the same scale Chinese score 45% against Pakistani’s 81%.Any explanation?
    I’m a little worried, ’cause a lot among us look upto China for guidance on material success.

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  • Truth Teller
    Jul 31, 2012 - 6:04PM

    Although I consider Asad Umar a genius but he is trying to market IK & PTI! Article is quite confusing. Whereas on one side they are saying that majority of Pakistanis see bad times but simaltaneously mentioning that they are optimistic. I am lost.

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  • Imran
    Jul 31, 2012 - 7:53PM

    @ All Indians

    more than 50% of indians do not have toilet and use open spaces for urgent needs. That’s the reality!!!

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  • Iron
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:23PM

    @ashok sai:
    My friend negative criticism is the easiest thing that anyone can do, if you don’t have a dream then you are not going any where, job/wealth/luxury is not going to touch you unless you dream and work hard to acquire it. I was hopeless when I was a teenager I was living on public transport, no cell phone, no money for McDonald/KFC and inferior complex was killing me, but I started dreaming to be successful and with strong determination I achieved my goals, currently I’ve a luxury life, I travel all over the world, I own sports car and decent size house, just to add more I’m under 30.
    So the bottom line is Dream, set realistic goals and work hard to achieve it.

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  • antanu g
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:36AM

    @Iron:
    ashok sai gets your point but sorry to say his biased mind does not allow him to think rationally.

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  • Vikram
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:53AM

    @Indian: A mason works harder than a businessman. Does that mean that mason leads a superior life?

    How do you define superior? Most rich people have problems like depression, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. They can’t even enjoy simple meals.

    A day laborer can have a happier life then a person who is very rich.
    Mostly people who don’t have a rewarding life will think “hard work can be rewarding”.

    In countries like Pakistan “who do you know” can be more rewarding then “what you know or how much hard you work.”

    .

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  • AFGHAN
    Aug 1, 2012 - 2:27AM

    This is the biggest problem with us, South Asians. We are so good at bluffing about patriotism, hardworking and other virtues, yet we fail to deliver what we claim. If we were so hardworking; our countries would have been standing in parallel with Japan, US, UK and other developed nations of the world.

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  • Singh
    Aug 1, 2012 - 7:32AM

    Basic Mantra to success is work smart than hard. And key to success is education.
    Without key you can’t open mind to work smart.
    Engineer make 25 time more than laborer.
    Nice to hear that Pakistani youth believe in hard work. Good Luck

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  • Gratgy
    Aug 1, 2012 - 7:12PM

    A country that depends on aid is talking about hard work, Now thats rich!!!Recommend

  • jmll
    Aug 1, 2012 - 8:32PM

    @ cynical ;
    If you see the the difference, the developed nations don’t believe in hard work but use of
    talent to get more output with minimum work hours.We just work hard.

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  • khosa
    Aug 9, 2012 - 10:43AM

    pakistanies are hard working good to hearRecommend

  • iTroll
    Aug 9, 2012 - 11:30PM

    @Naeem Siddiqui and khosa: You simply don’t understand the difference between believing and actually doing something
    @Vikram: Dude you lost it, this is very old fashioned excuse for not working hard.
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  • Irfan Maqsood
    Aug 13, 2012 - 2:01AM

    @Indians
    @Pakistanis

    My all dear fellows, why we are still in such condition, against each others, trying to push down each other (in words even), Why we are not getting from history?
    You know what u lost in 68 years of war and what we lost, don’t be so stupid more please.
    Come and join the flag of friendship for ever, then you all will see where Pakistan and India will go. Our major problem is just being terrified from each other. Lets be friends please. we have same ethnicity, same culture same language and still we are fighting, its 21st century, the Americans united them selves, European have united themselves, African Arabian and such all are united still we are in hate. Over this stupid thinking please we could be a very good friend forever and on uniting, we will be the most powerful in the world. No any one even USA will have courage to ask something bad, the world is seeing that we are fighting so they are using our emotions against each of us for their own benefits. lets stop this plz

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  • vickram
    Aug 13, 2012 - 11:23PM

    When you refuse to accept reality and deny everything, naturally you will be positive !!!!

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  • Kumail
    Aug 14, 2012 - 1:59PM

    From my personal observation, Pakistani’s are some of the most talented and hard working people I have met who seldom lose faith. If only Pakistan could find honest hard working politicians then you would see a different, more prosperous Pakistan all together. Lets keep the faith shall we!.

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  • Optimist
    Aug 14, 2012 - 4:05PM

    @Indian:
    You told the fact.

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  • Abdullah
    Aug 27, 2012 - 12:30AM

    @Indian:
    you are missing the point of romanticizing the hard-work: It isn’t a definitive statement as law a of physics that hard work does or does not gets rewarded. You can endlessly argue either way. But remember my friend: either way it is going to be a self-fulling prophesy!

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  • sani
    Aug 27, 2012 - 1:55AM

    India still has much higher poverty rate and indian cities are far more dirtier and unplanned, thats what wikipedia says. pakistan has all the basic infrastructure and man power, we only need a kick start..

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