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Malaise All Over

After staying off television for 18 days while his country burned, Jacques Chirac compounded his blunder by talking about a “profound malaise,” immediately raising parallels to Jimmy Carter.

But could he be on to something?  A new survey of 86,000 workers in 16 countries finds that only 14% of workers are “highly engaged,” meaning “willing and able to help a company succeed.”

In India, just 7 percent of workers are "highly engaged," one-third the level in the United States and half the global average, the survey found. Only Japan ranks lower, with 2 percent of workers highly engaged.

The Japanese figure surprises me, not because their company-wide morning callisthenics inspires engagement, but because their world-leading use of robots in industry (over 400,000) would tend to replace human workers doing the dullest, most repetitive tasks.  What gives?

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Mr. Moffat is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Md.

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