Are you happy?
February 17, 2007
Before going about answering the question, like a good philosopher-with-nothing-much-to-do-on-friday-afternoon, let us disect and define “happiness”.Happiness could be event-specific, like graduating makes me happy, getting a high paying job makes me happy, running behind women makes me unhappy, but making them run behind me makes me happy, and so on..
Hence, by asking this simple question, what the questioner meant to ask was the sum of all these.. happiness of an event is “+1” state (or 1 haps, haps being the unit of happiness), unhappiness a “-1” state (-1 haps), and not having any feeling is “0” state (0 haps, for someone like me who has lost sensitivity). Point to note: max points for any given single event is +/-1.
This question was asked to several individuals all around the world, and the results are pretty interesting. The study can be found here and the results are here(pdf), and links were found via this. Now that I have cleared myself regarding the references, let us proceed. (This sounds like a cookery show, right? Now let us add some salt and heat it for 5 mins..)
The ranking of the twenty happiest countries is:
1) Denmark 2) Switzerland 3) Austria 4) Iceland 5) The Bahamas 6) Finland 7) Sweden 8. Bhutan 9) Brunei 10) Canada
Next 10 are: Ireland, Luxembourg, Costa Rica, Malta, The Netherlands, Antigua and Barbuda, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, The Seychelles.
Other notable players: USA (23), France (62), China (82) Japan (90), India (125) and Russia (167)
- If we notice, this has nothing particular to do with money. Though they are pretty rich (by they, I mean the toppers) but the richest havent taken the top spots.
- A country’s size seems to matter a bit (size does matter? though Canada is an exception here). We can conclude that it is easier to keep a smaller group happy than trying to get the 1billion+ poplulation happy (pretty obvious). With regards to India and Russia, this quote from the article sums it up: “..it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries..“
So, money isnt THAT important, inspite of the fact that all of our lives seem to be driven by, revolving around and pre-occupied with money? The article says this about UK (ranked 41): “A recent BBC survey found that 81% of the (UK) population think the Government should focus on making us happier rather than wealthier“.
Japan is 3rd largest economy in the world (after USA and China, based on PPP) yet nose-dived to 90th posiiton in terms of happiness. Bhutan is much much happier with its minuscle economy yet strong Budhist+hinduism roots.. Peace loving countries like Switzerland and Canada are much happier, again, no surprise.. As the article goes on to say “Further analysis showed that a nation’s level of happiness was most closely associated with health levels, followed by wealth, and then provision of education.”
BTW, The three least happy countries were:
176. Democratic Republic of the Congo
Now, keeping your nationality apart, how happy are you? An Indian living in US does not get a rank of (125+23)/2 (maybe is should be 125+23, hmmn and if you are/were stung by grad life, you might be too naive to even comprehend the concept of happiness, leave alone participating in the poll.. may we suggest Hell?)