Credit Suisse Progress Barometer 2019

Credit Suisse

The Credit Suisse Progress Barometer measures the desire for progress in society, politics and economy around the globe.

For this year’s edition, 16,000 citizens in 16 different countries on six continents (all except Antarctica) were interviewed and asked to share their views.

The questionnaire for the Progress Barometer was developed and launched in Switzerland in 2018 and taken to a global level in 2019. gfs.bern worked with local experts to ensure that the concept and questionnaire were adapted to reflect the context and characteristics of each country individually.

At the heart of the concept are 30 statements referring to 10 aspects of progress in society, politics and the economy in each case. For each of these aspects respondents were asked to indicate whether – in their opinion – the wheels of progress should move much faster (indicating desire for progress) or whether they should stop and be reversed (indicating aversion to progress).

This index allows opinions on progress within a country to be compared by looking at the areas of politics, society and the economy separately. Moreover, it also provides the opportunity to compare the 16 countries included in the study, thus helping us understand the readiness for progress around the world.





The process of adapting the questionnaire to each country brought to light how subjective progress as a notion is and how dependent it is on personal opinion and cultural background. Progress in one particular area can be viewed very favourably in one country, whereas in another country it might be seen as quite problematic. Progress is also not always seen as positive. The political zeitgeist, for example, suggests an increase in political polarization for the future – a development that many citizens would definitely prefer to reverse.

In addition to collecting information on where the citizens want their country to go in the future, the Progress Barometer also looks at the past and how citizens evaluate the changes their country has seen in the last ten years.

This cockpit is a portrait of how progress is seen in Brazil in 2019. Readiness for progress is discussed for the areas of politics, society and the economy – as well for the country overall. The 30 items used to calculate the progress indices are displayed in a progress map showing readiness for progress on the x-axsis and the unanimity with which this progress is demanded on the y-axsis.

For methodological information, please consult the info box at the end of the cockpit.

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Over all the 16 surveyed countries, Brazil has the highest desire for progress (Nr. 1 of 16) in society, economy and politics combined. The desire to turn the wheel faster ist particularly high.

Progress map Brazil

Brazil is ready for more progress. As in most other countries, electric mobility perfectly suits the zeitgeist of combining (technological) innovation with the desire for greater ecological sustainability. The government is ready to assist in this desire to get things moving faster. National and regional projects are underway to integrate plug-in hybrids and electric cars into society nationwide and, in June 2019, it was announced that electric vehicles will be excemt from certain taxes applied to industrial products.

Despite this push for innovation, Brazil’s economic structure is still relatively one-sided and its exports hugely dependent on products such as soybeans, iron ore and crude petroleum. It is no surprise that there is less enthusiasm in Brazil for the introduction of a fuel tax than there is in most other countries. For the future, however, the Brazilian population wants to be less dependent on commodities. Associated with this wish is also the desire to stop exploitation of the Amazon rainforest and at least to halt, if not reverse, the reduction of the territory occupied by indigenous people. Thirteen percent of Brazil’s land area has been recognized as indigenous territory; 98.5% of this territory is located in the Amazon region.

While protectionist measures are gaining momentum again on a global level, Brazil’s government is advocating the opening of its markets. According to the findings of the Progress Barometer, Brazilian voters show that they have an affinity for progress when it comes to freer and more liberal trade, are not averse to outsourcing certain aspects of production and welcome international companies and experts into the country. There is also little fear of greater dependence on international agreements.

The expansion of public childcare is the only non-economic issue in the top 5 of the aspects where Brazilians would like to see things moving faster. Brazilians also want progress in terms of gender equality, gay rights and secularization – compared to other countries, however, these issues are not prioritized.

Opinion on political polarization is comparatively critical, as are views on the decrease in independent media and the trade-off between diversity of information and accuracy of news. One of the main platforms for the election of Brazil’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro, was his promise to fight corruption and crime in the country. Accordingly, Brazilians want to see more progress in maintaining law and order, as this shown in year’s Progress Barometer.


Desire for progress in Brazil

Brazil wants to progress most quickly on economic issues, followed by progress in the realm of society and lastly in politics. This ranking is similar to the priority assigned to the three areas on the average of all 16 countries surveyed.

Of all 16 countries, however, Brazil is the nation with the greatest desire for progress.

When asked how Brazilians themselves would rate the current development in their country, they think that most progress has been achieved in the area of the economy, 41% saying that Brazil is very or at least somewhat progressive on this issue. The proportion of Brazilians who think progress has been achieved on issues concerning society is slightly smaller (39%), while progress in the area of politics comes last (30%).

Future prospects

When it comes to their personal future, the proportion of Brazilians who are optimistic stands at 49% – this being the second highest of all 16 countries surveyed (only Indonesia is higher). On the other hand, respondents are less sure about the future of their children: 65% think their children will not be as well off as themselves. In fact, a comparatively high proportion (55%) of Brazilians agrees with the statement „things could only go downhill for society“.

Assessment of past years

Looking back on the past 10 years, a majority of Brazilians feel that things have deteriorated when it comes to both social security (53%) and national security (52%).The stability of economic relations has been under strain (49%) and both the protection of privacy (49%) and national unity (43%) have become worse. On the other hand, people generally think the population’s participation in decision-making has tended to improve in the past few years (47%), and they also think Brazil has become more inventive and made progress when it comes to sustainable technologies (64%). While people think that rural infrastructure has rather improved (46%), they are less clear when it comes to rating the development of urban infrastructure (43% improved vs. 44% deteriorated).

Progress in politics

73% of Brazilian voters are convinced the country’s problems can be solved better without political parties. They also feel that rapid change can only be achieved by strong leaders from the private sector rather than stakeholders from politics and society (57% agree completely or tend to agree) and that, in the complex world we live in today, a strong government which decides on the basis of facts rather than political considerations is needed (82%).

Battle against climate change

The Progress Barometer shows that Brazilians are great advocates of e-Mobility. They generally think that new technologies help solve major global problems (74%) – particularly also climate change (52%) – and generally make life easier (83%). While the imposition of a new fuel tax is not something Brazilians are too enthusiastic about, they still feel that the state should do more to prevent corporations from polluting the environment (83% agree).

Social cohesion

The proportion of Brazilians who currently feel that a small minority is getting richer while most of the population is not is particularly high (81%) compared with the other countries. Brazil is also the country where most agree that the opposition of small groups prevents swift progress for the nation as a whole (62%). However, progress cannot be forced. Seventy percent of Brazilians agree with the statement that social development means resolving conflicts without weaponsthis notion.

Methodological information

on behalf of: Credit Suisse

basic population: Brazilian citizens with the right to vote

fieldwork: Cint AB

surveying: online panel

survey period: 20.09.2019-18.10.2019

sample size: min. 1000 per country, Brazil (N=1040)

margin of error: at 50/50 (and 95 percent probability) Brazil (± 3)

quota characteristics: age/gender interlocked

weighing: age/gender

survey duration: average survey time in minutes in Brazil = 23

Progress items

Progress Index and Items:

Respondents were asked the following question: „For each of the areas below, assess the current development and imagine this development as a wheel that turns. For each case, decide whether the development should be accelerated or reversed.“ Ten statements asking about a development in society, economy and politics each were surveyed in all 16 countries. The adaption of these items to best suit the countries context were made in cooperation with local experts.

The following items were surveyed in Brazil:

Progress items economy:

digitalization: Digitization/robotization makes our working lives easier and more efficient, but it also makes traditional professions redundant.
free trade: The trade of goods is getting freer and more global.
lifelong learning: You have to do regular on-the-job training in order to keep up.
production outsourced: Many aspects of production are moved abroad.
influx foreign experts: Brazil needs more and more experts from abroad.
tax money for research: To strengthen Brazil as a research location, more taxpayers‘ money is spent on research.
development of agricultural land: Growing cities and major industrial and infrastructure projects mean that more and more agricultural land is being developed/Major infrastructure projects and ideas means that more and more cultivated land is built on.
e-mobility: Electric cars allow even more individual mobility with reduced emissions of climate-damaging substances./Mobility with electrically powered cars allows even more individual mobility with reduced emissions of climate-damaging substances.
less dependence on commodities: Brazil needs to improve its manufactoring base in order to depend less on commodities
investment international corporations: International corporations like Amazon decide to invest in Brazil and gain influence on the economy.

Progress items society:

gender equality: Gender equality is promoted in all areas of life.
urban-rural contrast: People living in big cities and in small towns in the rural areas have fewer and fewer interests in common.
gay rights: Gay couples increasingly enjoy equal rights in all areas of life.
fewer independent media: There are fewer and fewer independent media outlets in Australia.
expansion public childcare: Public daycare and childcare services are being expanded.
increase life expectancy: Advances in medicine means that we are healthier into old age, but at the same time we’ll have to work for longer.
sense of purpose in work: People increasingly look for passion and meaning in their work.
petrol tax: Additional taxes on petrol are demanded worldwide in order to slow down climate change.
secularization: Religion has less and less influence on the law and govermnet.
vulnerability indigenous lifestyle: In a modern society, there is less and less room for the style of living of indigenous people.

Progress items politics:

increase in pension deductions: Wage deductions for pensions are increasing because people are living longer.
increase in development aid: Brazil’s contributions to global development cooperation are increasing.
dependence on international agreements: When it comes to its global market position, Brazil is increasingly dependent on international agreements with other countries.
individualization and self fulfillment: With increasing individualization, social pressure diminishes and everyone can live by their own values.
regulation increase: More and more everyday things are becoming more strictly regulated./The state ensures that many parts of life and work are clearly regulated.
accessability trough social media: People can organise themselves spontaneously via the internet and force policy-makers to become more accessible to the public.
polarization: Politics is becoming increasingly polarised and cooperation between the parties more difficult.
media diversity vs. reliability: While more and more sources of information are available to form a political opinion, the facts become less important.
Amazon rainforest exploitation: The natural ressources of the Amazone rain forrest are exploitet to improve the economy of the country.
ensure law and order: To ensure law and order government, police and army are granted more and more freedom.