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Switzerland, Scandinavia top global 'happy' index

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"The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy."

In the imaginary world of the future . . .

"The Department of Happiness reports today optimism is up and quantifiable gains public health have continued to rise for the fourth straight quarter. Still lagging from economic set backs are confidence in banking transparency and wage parity."

"What a wonderful world" - Louis Armstrong

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The report would be distributed widely at the United Nations and closely read by governments around the world, he said.

may cause 'unhappiness' - but govt officials are unlikely to read it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan ranks at 46??? What's that about?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Where's Bhutan?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It's been over 30 years since I last lived in Switzerland (Geneva) for 3 years. The negative vibrations from the Swiss was extreme to say the least. Just crossover the border to France and voila, you're around people with feelings once again. This was definitely not just my opinion. I heard such negative impressions about the Swiss from many foreigners when I arrived there. At the time it was 80% resident foreigner in Geneva. If it has improved, that's wonderful.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm puzzled that all of Scandinavia made the top 10. I've been a few time in Mid summer to each of them and I would absolutely agree. On the other side of the coin is Winter. Short days and long nights. I would think depressing in those months.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

'I'm puzzled that all of Scandinavia made the top 10. I've been a few time in Mid summer to each of them and I would absolutely agree. On the other side of the coin is Winter. Short days and long nights. I would think depressing in those months.'

I remember visiting Sweden and Denmark with my wife and saying I wouldn't be too depressed in Winter if I had women like that to keep me warm. She said the same about the men. We spent the week with our eyes wandering around.

Beautiful, safe countries with enviable standards of life.

7 ( +6 / -0 )

I think being debt free can give you a positive outlook on life, and one of the biggest differences in Scandinavian countries is that university/higher education is free. (Not sure about Switzerland)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Hey. What all these countries have in common? Yeah. Thats the answer

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Why wasn't Japan mentioned in this article?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@kiyoshiMukai "What do all these countries have in common?"

I live in Sweden but spent a lot of time in Japan, the US and limited time in many other countries. My wife is from South Korea. As a parent I can't imagine bringing up my children anywhere else than here in "Scandinavia" (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland). I've never been to Iceland (except for their airport), but have some friends from there and we in the Nordics ("Scandinavia" plus Iceland) are quite similar in mentality (relaxed, calm, "it will be okay in time" etc), similar values (human equallity/respect/rights, freedom of speech/religion etc), have similar trust in governments/politics and share a lot of history and culture and so on. Even if we are in fact separate countries, we are also part of the Nordics and strongly feel that we are united somehow. We are basically happy people by nature, and maybe we just don't know any better. Or as my Norwegian friend put it (about Danish people being the happiest in the world): they have low expectations in life and constantly become positively surprised.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I've been happy in all the countries I've lived in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

TessaAPR. 24, 2015 - 09:12AM JST Japan ranks at 46??? What's that about?

Um, Japan is a wonderful place to visit, but have you ever lived there or seen how Japanese live? Small, cramped homes and city environments with a lack of greenery. A corrupt and largely unaccountable police force and administration that people feel (rightly) they have no voice in. A lack of social support both privately and from the government. Stressful lives full of demanding and often unrewarding work.

Having a good sense of safety and abundance of delicious food is a good thing, but not enough to maintain happiness when you have all of the above to content with.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The issue with such indexes is that you can "adjust" them to show whatever you want to see. Just use different indicators. Same people can be described one time as "happy" and other time as "unhappy", depending on the factors someone personally picks. Also, talking about happiness on a national scale is a very big stretch. Happiness in the common sense is associated with emotional state, not GDP rates. Not to mention the distinction between a fake happiness (acting out gestures and body language associated with happiness) and real happiness (internally experienced).

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japanese people are mainly miserable much of the time. Just look at them on the subways. Their working lives are excruciatingly painful. How can anyone who spends 12-14 hours a day sitting down staring at an Excel sheet or sitting in a mindless meeting register great happiness? Their school kids are the most depressed looking bunch imaginable. Most of them live in tiny apartments surrounded by concrete worrying about how to fit in better. I'm surprised Japan ranked as high as 46th, unless a bit of tatemae was involved. There are great things about the country, but it has never struck me as a very happy place.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

One thing I found impressive when speaking to Swedish people was a pride in the Swedish political/social model and its social mobility in particular. I got more of a sense of people actually believing they are part of a society and valued as such rather than attempted force feeding of idiotic flags, songs, pledges or irritating patriotic soundbites. The people do seem to be more valued in their system and it's structure reflects that fact more than most. The proof is in the pudding and half-arsed, nationalistic window dressing isn't going to cut it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Living in Scandinavia was a youthful goal but I ended up in Japan. I suspect that thanks to a lot of dumb luck I got more here than I would have gotten there.

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I'd say a list of the top ten smug nations rather than happy, lol

-5 ( +1 / -5 )

Jimizo,

Scandinavian countries take corruption seriously, that is why they work better.

Unlike Africa. Or France.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Having a good sense of safety and abundance of delicious food is a good thing, but not enough to maintain happiness when you have all of the above to content with.

Yeah, good points. I just get tired of being told on a near-daily basis how wonderful Japan is, when I can see the truth with my own eyes. I actually enjoy living here, but if I were Japanese I'd be desperate to get out.

Hey. What all these countries have in common? Yeah. Thats the answer.

Um. they all speak English as a first or second language?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

'Scandinavian countries take corruption seriously, that is why they work better'

Agreed. That combined with a sense of egalitarianism, excellent education and progressive thinking. I remember Hayek desperately trying and failing to find an answer to why these countries succeed considering their leftist tendencies could only come up with something along the lines of 'yes, but their not happy'.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A mixture of all sorts of tendencies as you put it is a more accurate description. Many Scandinavian businesses fled to Germany in the seventies because of the inevitable tax rape and pillage when socialism goes wild.

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@Madverts They seem to have survived that exodus pretty well and have built a far healthier and fairer society than the gruesome plutocracies we now see in the US and UK. The big business-backed stooges and Etonian parasites in these countries are still flogging the nonsense of rising tides and similar crap while the rich pull away.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm pro small business. The entrepreneurs that make your socialism possible, always at unfair cost.

The survival was due to a backtrack on the socialist taxathon.

That's why they avoided the ruin and near financial collapse suffered in Great Britain in the seventies at the hands of your socialists.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm a swiss living in Japan. I will survive :0...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Transparency of government and much less corruption is one very good point about Scandinavian countries

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Why are the Scandinavians happy?

The Danes have the highest taxes in the world. Not too long ago, the Swiss voted in a referendum to limit immigration and make it easier to expel foreign-born residents. The Norwegians are fiercely isolationist, so much so that in 2011 the entire country was reported to have run out of butter.

But, according to a recent survey 54% of residents believe in elves. I guess the secret to happiness is elves.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/why-so-many-icelanders-still-believe-in-invisible-elves/280783/

Have you ever met a miserable person who believes in elves?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Rolf SchlumpfAPR. 24, 2015 - 09:07PM JST I'm a swiss living in Japan. I will survive :0...

Hey, I'm a NZer living in Japan - join the happy-country peace train.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Happiness is a state of mind and what you decide to make of it.Nothing wrong with living in Japan.Ain't nowhere perfect.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You want to be happy, go to Disneyland.

Wisdom and Maturity are the goals of life.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

A combination of socialism, hard work ethic, and low immigration are probably the answer. Japan has too low of immigration for its fertility rate, so it missed the happy medium.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hey. What all these countries have in common?

aaah there all happy!? you know content with there lives free to live it the way they chose without the conforming cultural restraints put on them from birth.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You want to be happy, go to Disneyland.

Nah. Go to Thailand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Small populations -- the key to personal fulfillment, safety, high living standards, etc. I wish policymakers could acknowledge that fact.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If people sought out happy places, Sasayama would be swamped with people, and Tokyo would be desolate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I know a few Scandanavians, they LOVE Japan and would never imagine going back to Sweden, Finland etc..something about it being too boring, no excitement and I also met a few Scandanavians in Mexico, they seemed to really like the Mexian life style but when they got drunk, they all seemed to turn a bit dark and sad, maybe they have crappy winters and lots of alcoholism and suicides???

2 ( +2 / -0 )

maybe they have crappy winters and lots of alcoholism and suicides???

Nah that's France.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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