Friday, 18 December 2009

Vanuatu is the happiest place on earth, research suggests

You've probably seen this already. It's old news. I didn't. Nice BBC report.


  1. Yay I can post!

    OK, B, you know I love your blog. But this is just silly. I was a bit confused as to why a dirt poor island in the middle of nowhere came out top (even if you believe you can quantify "happiness"). So I was not surprised to see this was a NEF "survey" ie ideological waffle pretending to be some kind of scientific proof. All they've done in their methodology is to give consumption a big negative weighting, automatically pushing very poor, unindustrialised countries to the top of the list and rich ones to the bottom. Which is how Colombia - poor, ravaged by conflict and drugs, is apparently the 2nd happiest place on the planet! Apparently small things like human rights or security don't make people happy, which is why Palestine or Libya come above the UK... All amusing, but a little bit sick in a way - didn't NEF think their method had produced some slightly weird results? And why is their large net emigration from most of the "happy countries" to the "unhappy" ones...

    Gorgeous pics though.

  2. Dan I love the rigour with which you attack. Ok, I'll look into the methodology. But your perspective is based upon your underlying assumption that material wellbeing is more important than community or spiritual wellbeing. We have human rights and some security, yup, and also, if some of the stats are to be believed, a country full of busy/tired/unfulfilled/dissatisfied people dreaming of other stuff. If you're not one of them, well done, but I suspect you are, Wolf man...

    Have you ever met a Colombian?

  3. Belatedly realised you responded... No attack I promise! Call me an old fashioned Marxist but I think you need physical and material security before you can enjoy community or spiritual wellbeing... Which is why so many people live countries racked by conflict or poverty for those that are not, even though it means (painfully) abandoning families, communities etc.

    Columbia is a good case in point - I've met lots of Columbians, and have some good friends from there. And I met them in the UK and US as that's where they fled to due to conflict, poverty, drugs etc. It's also one of the least equal countries in the world (top 1% having almost all of the land and wealth).

    More dubiously as I don't have any evidence, but I think that some of the dissatisfaction of citizens of advanced countries comes from their having the time and space to think about these BECAUSE they live in a state that protects them and provides a basic level of material comfort. People in poorer countries are too busy fighting for survival to reflect on their lack of fulfilment... And perhaps they would welcome the malaise of indsutrialisation over the alternative.