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People around the world have grown far more cynical about the idea their governments have their best interests at heart, according to polling from Pew.

By the numbers: When Pew last asked this question in 2002, majorities in nearly all countries polled believed their government was run to benefit all people. Amid the current populist wave, there is far more doubt.

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Zoom in: Italy saw the most remarkable decline in people's belief that the country was run for all, falling from 88% in 2002 to 30% in 2019. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Italy's mainstream parties have rapidly lost support to populists.

  • Germany, which is also undergoing extreme political fragmentation, also saw a massive drop (86% to 48%).
  • Lebanon, which has been gripped by protests over corruption and poor government services, saw a plunge from 78% to 26%.
  • The U.S. and U.K. saw similar drops, both from around 65% to around 45%. Canada's drop was much smaller (59% to 56%) while France started low but ticked up slightly (40% to 44%).

Bucking the trend were the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as Japan (albeit from a low starting point).

Go deeper

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

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The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

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Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

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Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.