Older millionaires are more critical towards the state's operation than younger millionaires and ordinary people. While rich and less wealthy people agree on most threats to society, they have different opinions on the increase in property prices and the packages of social measures introduced by the government.
This stems from the Wealth Report survey, carried out by J&T Bank.
Both millionaires and ordinary Slovaks say that corruption, cronyism, nepotism and low law enforcement are among the biggest threats to society. Both groups are concerned by red tape and the low efficiency of public institutions, as well as a high tax and payroll tax burden.
Other problems, described by more than 80 percent (and in some cases more than 90 percent) of respondents, include an unclear state economic strategy, a low level of education, low expenses on science and research, and low financial literacy. This is because they negatively impact all people, regardless of their income and fortune.
“Moreover, international surveys, like the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, have been suggesting for several years that when doing business, Slovakia struggles in many of the above-mentioned areas, topped by corruption, red tape, tax legislation and labour market regulation,” said Stanislav Pánis, analyst of J&T Banka, as quoted in a press release.
At the same time, the statistics of Eurostat and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that in terms of share between science and research expenses and the GDP, Slovakia is at the bottom, he added.
Property prices not viewed as big problem
Millionaires who are 50 years old and above are more critical of the problems than younger millionaires and the rest of the population.
The survey also suggests that only slightly more than 50 percent of millionaires, and particularly older ones, consider the rise in property prices a problem. In the case of ordinary people, eight of 10 respondents said it is a problem.
“This is a natural result since rich people aren’t bothered much by the increase in property prices and can afford to carry out purchases for more money as well,” Pánis explained. “Moreover, many of them have invested in property and now benefit from the increase in their value.”
While 77 percent of the ordinary population is critical of the current political situation in Slovakia, in the case of millionaires it is only 65 percent. Only six out of 10 millionaires younger than 50 years of age describe the situation as a big threat.
“One of the potential explanations is that most rich people are entrepreneurs or managers who fare well in the currently good economic situation and experience a robust growth in their business, despite the general disagreement and criticism of the business environment and economic policy,” Pánis explained.
Social measures perceived differently
The survey also suggests that while 59 percent of the ordinary population consider the increase in the popularity of populist parties in Europe a problem, in the case of millionaires it is 75 percent. Mostly older millionaires are more critical of this trend.
“The ordinary population in the West has a tendency to be more prone to populist parties and their quick solutions to problems, which in the end only worsen the situation,” Pánis said, adding that this stems mostly from the failures of the standard parties to fulfil their promises.
The tendency is higher in the case of the stagnation and drop in the standard of living and the widening gap between the rich and the poor. This is also why, more than millionaires, the ordinary population considers the non-critical perception of the West and the EU as threat (57 percent of respondents vs. 44 percent), Pánis claimed.
The differences are even greater when it comes to packages of social measures. While 68 percent of wealthy people consider them harmful (with the share of older millionaires being even bigger, at 81 percent), this opinion is shared by only 46 percent of ordinary people.
“For the average Slovak they have higher added value than for a millionaire who does not notice them at the microeconomic level or is not entitled to receive them,” Pánis said, adding that on the other hand, millionaires understand the economy more and are aware of the impact of social measures on public finances.
24. Jan 2019 at 13:58 | Compiled by Spectator staff