Happy, Happy — Not!

June 2, 2011

The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.
George Carlin

Some US peoples might believe they’re happy, but in reality happy is just illusion pasted from a non-revised history of this country — happy is somewhere else.

(Illustration found here).

This week, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the prominent Paris-based organization, better known for financial forecasts and economic policy advice, released a better life index, flashing on the happiest countries in the world — the US didn’t make the cut.
The index was compiled using three indicators: (1) the amount of time spent on personal activities; (2) the employment rate of women with children between 6 and 14 years of age; and (3) the number of employees working over 50 hours a week.
The folks at 24/7WallSt. analyzed the OCED data:

The happiest people in the developed world get loads of social services without having to work too hard. Having abundant natural resources, a thriving services sector and a fairly homogeneous population helps as well.
The OECD study no doubt would have had different results had it included politically unstable countries in the Middle East or large emerging economies where political unrest threatens to bubble over such as China.

Old, stable nations of northern Europe took five of the top 10 spots on our list.
These include Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark.
Switzerland is also on the list and has many characteristics in common with the Scandinavian countries.
The resource-rich, English-speaking countries of Australia and Canada made the cut as well.
Noticeably absent from the list are any OECD nations in Latin America, southern and eastern Europe and Asia.
Many of the southern European nations like Greece, Portugal, and Spain are in economic trouble and have high unemployment.
The employment and education opportunities are not as good in Mexico as in Canada, nor is the access to high-quality health care.
Japan and South Korea each have stable societies, but the people in both countries tend to work long hours and have limited leisure time.

And the happiest country in the world — the survey says!
Denmark, which seems odd:

For example, Denmark’s 26% income tax as a percent of GDP (the highest in the OECD) has resulted in an average disposable income of $27,080 compared to the OECD average of $36,800.
This places Denmark among the bottom half of developed countries for disposable income.
The country also ranks in the bottom third life expectancy and just average in self-reported health.
However, Danes have one of the strongest senses of friendship and community, with 97 percent reporting they had someone other than a family member that they could rely on.
Danish culture and government policy is one of the most leisure-friendly.
Denmark’s citizens spend more than 16 hours each week on leisure time, the second-highest rate in the OECD.
The government also subsidizes a full year of maternity leave.

So being happy actually has a lot to do with shit other than money and possessions, which leaves the US out in the unhappy cold.
The US scored poorly in safety and in work-life balance — I guess, we work until we drop, then we get up and go shopping.

The crazed people at Wonkette (where the tip on this story originated) summed it up about right:

Why can’t America have any happiness?
Because the U.S. Declaration of Independence only allowed for the ineffectual pursuit of happiness, not the actual life quality of happiness.
The richest 1 percent of Americans pursue happiness by taking everything from everybody else, while the average American pursues happiness by hating people in the same dire financial straits but with some superficial difference in skin color or religious background.

So and therefore, money, and the junk money can buy, doesn’t lead to being happy (it’s other things) as in the US we got it all except for being happy: “We are materially so much better off than we were 50 years ago, but we’re not one iota happier,” says Chris Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan.

Yes, indeed.

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