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Thread: World's Happiest Places

  1. #11
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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post

    What do you think makes a nation happy (or unhappy)?
    This is a question that is of great interest to me.

    Americans view happiness completely different than their European counter-parts. Americans believe happiness to be an obtainable object (pursuit of happiness). Americans strive and go at great lengths to obtain happiness.

    Other people see happiness as a by-product of hard work, or just life in general. Frankl (Psycho-analysist) agrees that Europeans (his elk of Nazi holocaust survivors) find happiness through methods that include self-sacrifice and pain.

    i think happiness, as the result on a survey question, comes from whether or not the subject considers himself/herself as "satisfactory" to the ideals of society.
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  2. #12
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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Well, a definite prerequisite seems to be a large social safety net, as most of the countries there come from what some would call the failed European welfare model. From the link,

    Low unemployment also contributes to happiness. "One thing we know for sure," says the OECD's Chapple, "not having a job makes one substantially less satisfied." Denmark's unemployment rate is just 2 percent, according the C.I.A.'s World Factbook. Norway's is just 2.6 percent. The Netherlands: just 4.5 percent. Many economists concur that a 4 percent unemployment rate reflects a stable economy. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 9 percent.
    I think this would play a huge role, and I'd say stability and not knowing you're going to get laid off and lose the house is much bigger than the size of your car or other materialist concerns, as we seem to associate with happiness here. Also, it seems that in many European countries there is a greater seperation between work and home then there is in the US. I think we in the US have a major problem when it comes to how far we'll push people in order to squeeze out every ounce of productivity. Longer hours with less pay in order to keep your job, house, car, etc, would be unheard of in many of the countries in the top 10.

    Of course, I would never give up my freedom to have low taxes so I can buy an SUV, even if my blood pressure will be through the roof from all the traffic jams I'll have to sit through everyday.

    Interesting about UK/France being near the bottom though. Definitely something else at play. I'd say constant dismal weather would play a role if it was just the UK, but I'm pretty sure France gets a lot of sunshine.
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    Cool Re: World's Happiest Places

    What I am about to say about happiness is basically what I base all of my economic political views off of. I would really like to debate this with anyone.

    I believe that overall:
    Socialist policies make people happy. However, being poor also makes people unhappy. Socialism also slows economic growth.

    Unhappy poor countries will stay unhappy and poor if they have socialist policies because of their resulting low economic growth. They will be slightly happier in the short run with socialist policies though. All of this means they should be "capitalist" to be happy in the long run.

    If a country has wealth then it doesn't need more economic growth for its citizens to be happy. Therefore, those rich countries will be happier with socialist policies. So if a rich country only cares about its citizens, then it should be "socialist"
    However, since rich countries invest in poor countries, capitalist policies in rich nations end up giving more wealth to poor countries. Therefore, even if people in rich countries will be happier with socialist policies, those countries should be capitalist to help poor nations grow their small economies.

    So for the world, all nations should pursue capitalism for most people to be happy in the long run. This only needs to go on untill all poor nations are richer though.

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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby View Post
    Well, a definite prerequisite seems to be a large social safety net, as most of the countries there come from what some would call the failed European welfare model. From the link,



    I think this would play a huge role, and I'd say stability and not knowing you're going to get laid off and lose the house is much bigger than the size of your car or other materialist concerns, as we seem to associate with happiness here. Also, it seems that in many European countries there is a greater seperation between work and home then there is in the US. I think we in the US have a major problem when it comes to how far we'll push people in order to squeeze out every ounce of productivity. Longer hours with less pay in order to keep your job, house, car, etc, would be unheard of in many of the countries in the top 10.

    Of course, I would never give up my freedom to have low taxes so I can buy an SUV, even if my blood pressure will be through the roof from all the traffic jams I'll have to sit through everyday.

    Interesting about UK/France being near the bottom though. Definitely something else at play. I'd say constant dismal weather would play a role if it was just the UK, but I'm pretty sure France gets a lot of sunshine.
    I agree, but we should all work hard to generate capital that will trickle down to poorer nations.

    I just think it is kind of greedy for Europe to sacrifice so much economic growth to make its people happy when people all over the world need more capital. What America does is much more selfless for the world in that way.

  5. #15
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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby View Post
    Well, a definite prerequisite seems to be a large social safety net, as most of the countries there come from what some would call the failed European welfare model.
    I dunno...Canada doesn't have much of a safety net compared to many others, yet it makes the list. And as I mentioned, I've seen other surveys that rate much poorer Central American countries near the top of the list. I read somewhere (I'll try to find the link) that TWICE as many Guatemalans as French considered themselves happy...despite much worse economic conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby
    I think this would play a huge role, and I'd say stability and not knowing you're going to get laid off and lose the house is much bigger than the size of your car or other materialist concerns, as we seem to associate with happiness here.
    I agree, that seems to be part of it. Although I think it's more that unemployment causes unhappiness, rather than employment causes happiness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby
    Also, it seems that in many European countries there is a greater seperation between work and home then there is in the US. I think we in the US have a major problem when it comes to how far we'll push people in order to squeeze out every ounce of productivity. Longer hours with less pay in order to keep your job, house, car, etc, would be unheard of in many of the countries in the top 10.
    Definitely. I think this is one of the biggest cultural differences. I work with a lot of foreigners, and many of them have a very difficult time adjusting to the nose-to-the-grindstone work culture in this country. Most countries are MUCH more laid-back regarding taking time off work.

    It seems like citizens of pretty much every well-developed nation work shorter hours and take longer vacations than Americans do. Even the Japanese, who stereotypically spend long hours at the office, don't work as much as Americans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby
    Interesting about UK/France being near the bottom though. Definitely something else at play. I'd say constant dismal weather would play a role if it was just the UK, but I'm pretty sure France gets a lot of sunshine.
    Perhaps in many cases of unhappy countries, it's because they see their position in the world relative to their neighbors. I think many of the countries that are especially unhappy (Eastern European places like the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia) compare themselves to Western European countries and feel like they aren't doing as well. Whereas Central American countries compare themselves to other Central American countries, and are happy because they see that they are doing as well as their neighbors.

    Granted, that doesn't really explain why the UK and France are unhappy...but I think it explains many of the others.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 05-10-09 at 03:12 AM.
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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by nerv14 View Post
    I agree, but we should all work hard to generate capital that will trickle down to poorer nations.

    I just think it is kind of greedy for Europe to sacrifice so much economic growth to make its people happy when people all over the world need more capital. What America does is much more selfless for the world in that way.
    Perhaps, but there will always be some higher cause. Everyone in Europe and the Americas could work 18 hours a day...but most people don't want that and they'd be downright miserable. I'm certainly not suggesting that poorer nations don't deserve our help...but for most people, their first priority is their own life and their own happiness.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 05-10-09 at 03:26 AM.
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  7. #17
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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby View Post
    Well, a definite prerequisite seems to be a large social safety net, as most of the countries there come from what some would call the failed European welfare model. From the link,

    I think this would play a huge role, and I'd say stability and not knowing you're going to get laid off and lose the house is much bigger than the size of your car or other materialist concerns, as we seem to associate with happiness here. Also, it seems that in many European countries there is a greater seperation between work and home then there is in the US. I think we in the US have a major problem when it comes to how far we'll push people in order to squeeze out every ounce of productivity. Longer hours with less pay in order to keep your job, house, car, etc, would be unheard of in many of the countries in the top 10.
    Yes and no. Denmark has consistently been in the top 5 for many years in these surveys and top 10 since the start and it is only recently that our unemployment has gone down to those levels (and it is going up now again btw). Unemployment is a factor of course, but the impact of a high rate can be minimized by having a safety net that provides for people if and when you do get to be unemployed (up to a point of course) and also provides for people to reinvent themselves by further education and so on and helping to start businesses up. People simply dont worry that much. All this adds to the "happiness" factor.

    On top of that family and social aspects are important also, and here the amount of time worked comes into the picture. If you look at many of the countries in the top 10, their productivity is high, GDP is high, income equality is more "fair" and so on, and yet they have the social safety nets, free schools and so on that provide for a safe mindset that in turn provides more happiness and all have relatively lower working weeks. That of course does not mean that we dont work more than the 35 hours a week.. we do, but no one can force us to work more than 35 hours a week if we dont want to.. that is the difference..

    On the other hand you have the US where people work themselves to death (relatively speaking) and yet they are not that happy. And in a way I understand it. American productivity with this worker mentality is no higher (even lower) than places like Denmark, Germany, Japan, and yet they work far less and are as rich if not richer (GDP/captia) as the US. So all this work gives no benefit really.

    Seems to me for an American, work and wealth is a road to "happiness" where as Europeans see work more as a means to have a social and family life.

    Personally I think income equality is a major factor, as those countries in the top are those where the equality is best, and those lower down have higher (often much higher) inequality.

    Of course, I would never give up my freedom to have low taxes so I can buy an SUV, even if my blood pressure will be through the roof from all the traffic jams I'll have to sit through everyday.
    That is another difference between Europeans and Americans. The view of taxes. While no one likes taxes, most Europeans accept that taxes are needed to maintain the society they have built over the decades and maintain that happiness. It is a small price to pay so to say. If you ask an European about UHC, free schools and so on and if they were willing to give it up for say 20% less (in %) in taxes, then most will say no.

    On the other hand Americans see any form of taxes as "taking their freedoms" from them, which I have yet to get explained how..

    But newsflash.. I can as a Dane goto a private hospital, get private health insurance, unemployment insurance, buy an SUV (although why would I), have several homes in several countries, move around where ever I want, work where I want, do what I want and buy what I want and if I see fit, start a business in any industry I want.. how different is that from an American?

    No difference, other than I dont have to buy private health insurance because I have UHC and I already pay into basic unemployment insurance over certain taxes.. although a huge portion of Danes pay into a private unemployment insurance as part of their union dues.

    So what "freedoms" are taken away from me as a Dane?

    Interesting about UK/France being near the bottom though. Definitely something else at play. I'd say constant dismal weather would play a role if it was just the UK, but I'm pretty sure France gets a lot of sunshine.
    Not surprised about the UK one bit. The income inequality in the country is huge for European standards and other issues magnify the "unhappiness" of Brits.

    France a bit more, but that can be explained by social issues and mentality. The French love to complain But here I suspect unemployment factors pay a large part in the unhappiness regardless of the safety nets and so on. Long term unemployment in France has always been high due to the very poor labour laws France has. Add to that social frictions between certain areas of French society, and then you get a lower happiness factor.
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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Stop trying to hijack the thread. If you don't want to address the subject at hand, kindly go away.

    What do you think makes a nation happy (or unhappy)?
    Linving in a safe village but not having to be the cop ?

  9. #19
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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Enemy View Post
    Let's reverse that.

    How happy would America be if Europe didn't exist?

    Answer is it wouldn't matter because America wouldn't exist.
    I guess you've forgotten about those pesky Native Americans.
    Quote Originally Posted by soccerboy22 View Post
    You guys are weird.

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    Re: World's Happiest Places

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby View Post
    Well, a definite prerequisite seems to be a large social safety net,
    The ironic thing is you are probably literally right. It was vague about how this was actually decided upon but I wouldn't be suprised if simply the existence of these large state social nets were taken as being a positive for happiness.

    I think it goes without saying that this survey is not definitive, particularly without seeing the methodology and with the hints that factors like GDP and such were taken as an important raw part of happiness.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

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