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If You’re HAPPY and You Know It …. Tell the UN?

March 19th, 2018 · 30 Comments

It’s the latest costly “news” emanating from/for the United Nations … and once again, in my opinion, another waste of money that will do little or nothing to actually repair much of the unhappiness suffered by so many people on the planet.

“The annual World Happiness Report, which analyses 155 countries and ranks them in order of happiness, attempts to “survey the scientific underpinnings of measuring and understanding subjective well-being”, according to the UN,” reports the British journal The Week.

“It uses six components: per capita gross domestic product (GDP); healthy years of life expectancy; social support, as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble; trust, as measured by perceived absence of corruption in government and business; perceived freedom to make life decisions; and generosity as measured by recent donations.”

Who pays for it?

“The Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund) is an international multi-donor and multi-agency development mechanism created in 2014 by the United Nations to support sustainable development activities through integrated and multidimensional joint programmes,”  explains its website.

“Its main objective is to bring together UN agencies, national governments, academia, civil society and business to address the challenges of poverty, promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve SDGs. Convening public-private partnerships for SDGs is in the SDG Fund’s DNA.”


Will the UN actually concretely act against the worst violators of human rights, corruption and poverty that affects the happiness of their citizens?   Not really … because many are part of the oppression-ridden Arab/Muslim bloc that holds sway in the General Assembly or on its corrupted “human rights” committees/organizations or are protected by a veto-holding ally on the Security Council.

Of course, not. In fact I contend it could even be argued that the UN has a history of ignoring, even excusing some of the world’s worst oppressive, abusive state regimes and even aiding proven terrorist groups …. especially those pushing radical extremist Muslim agendas.

Maybe they should read and start paying attention to obvious but uncomfortable truths for some UN members in their own  expensive document!

The top 10 Happiest countries:

1. Finland

2. Norway (1st last year)

3. Denmark

4. Iceland

5. Switzerland

6. Netherlands

7. CANADA (reached 5th in 2015)

8. New Zealand

9. Sweden

10. Australia

First thing I noticed is that the happiest countries in the world have certain  … VERY politically incorrect but unavoidably obvious …. common denominators: they ALL have European historical/cultural backgrounds; they were ALL founded and developed very predominntly by whites; and, they are ALL democracies; and, they have ALL have well-developed degrees of personal/political freedoms.

Perhaps readers can  see other similarities or particular qualities or sources that may explain their rankings?

The study SHOULD shame most UN members … especially those with vast oil riches, huge developed resource bases and highly profitable agricultural/manufacturing economies …. but still have inexcusable wage gaps between the rich and poor, or even their middle class.

So much for all those palaces, diamond encrusted limousines and jets, man-made luxury islands, marble and gold-encrusted  hotels in the Arab  oil kingdoms; the billionaire corporate boosters and land magnates and huge manufacturing conglomerates celebrated in Asia; and even the boasting of “the greatest country in the world” in their own mind, the United States.

The US came in 18th … DOWN four positions from last year’s Happiness Index.  Fake news?    Disney will no doubt have to now change their slogan “Happiest place on earth!” But don’t bet on it.

Russia came in at 58th.  Take that, Putin!  China was ranked 86; Britain at 19; United Arab Emirates 20th.

Countries from sub-Saharan Africa came in at the bottom: people in Burundi are the unhappiest in the world.

Can hardly wait to see what the UN will do with this information. LOL!

The money/resources spent on gathering/interpreting/reporting this information would have done more good in actually helping the unhappy … rather than have well-paid statistician/bureaucrats officially tell them they’re unhappy.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · International · National

30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Temm // Mar 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

    In my opinion, one of the key components in the program and why we are where we are, not just in Canada but globally, is; ” measured by perceived absence of corruption in government and business.”


    I believe, complacency and manipulation creates a world in which most are unaware of the depth of corruption and most of the others feel helpless to affect change.

    Win win for the bad guys.

    This whole emerging story, where it is becoming more and more evident Trump, with the help uf the Ruskies, harvested Facebook Profile information and thus influenced the US election, is an omen of where we are headed, at an escalating pace and the UN is a huge part of the problem.

    Happiness lies in ignorance.

    (Response: Interesting though that the ranking in the US dropped four full spots in the US… so the impact of Trump and all the firings, the growing evidence of Russian interference, his refusal to seriously deal with it, and his farcical performance as President is having an effect…despite those tax cuts. h.o.)

  • 2 e.a.f. // Mar 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Lets take another survey. Take all the political appointees from the U.N and put them in “hot spots” all over the world and lets not forget some of those “politically unstable” places, like Turkey, Syria, Bangledish, Burma. Leave them there for a month and then bring them back. They could spend the time there working on feeding and providing medical help. Let them see first hand who are the “unhappiest/most endangered”. The rest of us will be pretty happy and thus no need for an expensive survey.

    The U.N. really needs to be pared down to basics. The day they made Saudi Arabia the head of the H.R. committee all truly was lost. Then S.A. complains about Iran.

    The U.N. is pretty useless these days. The major departments which deal with hunger, health, education, etc. could be broken out and set up as the World, whatever in a place which was not N. Y. . The U.N. itself would then only deal with “war issues” and for that each country only need a 6 person delegation in place. End of parking problems in N.Y. and if we place the other entities in less enjoyable places, who knows, some work might be done.

    There is a CBC article up about the closing of some of the out ports due to a lack of population. Perhaps NFLD would volunteer to take one of those newly created departments and put it in an out post. Bet they’d get some work done really, really fast. No night clubs, no sex trade workers, no musems, operas, galleries, etc.

    I’m sure the U.N. does some good work, but in my opinion, most of the people there are political appointees from countries all over the world and its a “reward” from their government.

    As to the happiness chart, wonder if they talked to the First Peoples of Canada, Australia and N.Z. and took their happiness opinions separately. I know Norway has First Nations but their lives are much better than those of other countries.

    What some of the European countries figured out back in the 1960s was it was better to spend money and keep a safe and riotless population than using the American model which was rioting, protesting, etc. Those European countries also spend a mint on social services. Makes a huge difference.

    Norway, after WW II was a wasted country. They made deliberate plans to improve the rate of child mortality and started a program with “baby boxes”. It worked. Mortality rate went down, healthier children and from there……

    The Netherlands engineered their society also, from the after WW II. First, you couldn’t live in downtown Rotterdam unless you worked there. Rents were controlled. You could not live in a residence by yourself if it was deemed too “large” for one family. By the 1960s “welfare” rates were some where around what we in B.C. were working for monthly. So while many women were working for $400 a month here, in the Netherland, a woman with a child was receiving the Dutch equivilant of a $1000 a month. Artists were being paid to produce and drug (m.j/hash) dealers in Rotterdam were restricted to 2 large night clubs. The police then were able to concentrate on other things.

    What Europeans have been able to do is decide what is best for the country and what saves them the most money without getting tangled up with the evangelical b.s. we see in the U.S.A. today. A lot of other countries have their own version of the evangelical b.s.

    What the happiest countries have in common is something else. Religion does not rule their society or their politics. Education is much less costly, universal health care, etc. Because some hard noised person decided it was cheaper to pay up front then deal with the problems later. Oh, ya and those taxes. I can remember our Uncle tell us, all during their visits here, you don’t know the meaning of taxes.

    During the American “golden years” the Eisenhower years, American corporations paid approx. 80% in taxes. Look what they were able to build. The country is still getting by on that.

    You pay taxes in exchange for a civilized society.

    (Response: The UN does do some good work in peacekeeping, health and aid in disaster areas; and the Security Council at least provides a forum for the big powers to debate, lie, obfuscate … but sometimes do some good. But I agree with you, much of the UN could and should be pared down: The General Assembly is a farce; its UNRWA is a Muslim/Arab extremist servant and sometimes ally; its Human Rights Council is a joke … and the bureaucracy is so over-populated in the true tradition of government-run organizations that Id bet they could lay off a full third of their office staffs and if the managers made those remaining do a full days work, no one would notice any diminution of service. h.o.)

  • 3 Gene The Bean // Mar 19, 2018 at 10:16 am

    HAPPY ??? How can this be … ?

    Look at their governments ….

    Finland – centre left
    Norway – christian democratic
    Denmark – liberal
    Iceland – left / green
    Switzerland – social democratic
    Netherlands – liberal
    Canada – liberal
    New Zealand – labour
    Sweden – moderate
    Australia – liberal

    10 out of 10 for progressive governments. Not a morally bankrupt conservative government amongst them.

    Harvey, how will they spin this … fake news …??

    PS: Later in 2018, for the first time ever in the excited States of ‘Murica, ‘millenials’ will have more people elegible to vote than ‘baby boomers’ – – – – Tick Tock….

    (Response: No doubt…Fake News … or better yet Slanted Questions or maybe even Biased Analysis? h.o)

  • 4 BMCQ // Mar 19, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I have not given this any thought since I just finished reading the Essay but I have a quick question.

    Just how many Legal, Working, and Contributing People actually moved to any of the Top Six Nations On this List each of the past five years?

    How many of the same moved to the United States?

    Perhaps the answer to that question to that would provide an indication as to just how honest, fair, and balanced the UN World Happiness Report” might be.

    It would not or could not be manipulated or skewed to get the “Desired Results” could it?

    No, of course not.

    Then I could also ask another question.

    Just how many Employed, Legal, Non Felons would give up their Life in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the U.S, to move to any of the Top Six On this List.

    What is your guess?

    I have been to Iceland, The Netherlands, and Switzerland and my Mother is from Sweden but I would have absolutely NO interest in moving to any of those in the Top Six!

    I would not take the U.N. Seriously if they told me that it might Rain in Vancouver in January.

    Do I sound somewhat Cynical?

    Tick Tock………..

    “Fake News” !!

  • 5 nonconfidencevote // Mar 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Well like the old song says.
    ” If yer happy and you know it clap your hands….”
    Unfortunately in many African countries people are missing a limb due to mob violence and in many Arab countries people are missing their hands due to Sharia Law.

    Perhaps ” Stomp your feet” might work in Arabia and the Subcontinent.
    Cant wait to see what kind of dithering the UN comes up with when the Congo explodes in the next 12 months or so…….

  • 6 13 // Mar 19, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Top ten lists belong on late night TV ala David Letterman.
    My only concern is that the top ten are predominantly white societies. Personally I dont care that they are all white but my heart goes out to the PCSJWS that will suffer sleepless nights worrying that they dont deserve to be happy.
    As for the United Nations, it must exist. If the UN did not exist then what would the armies of public servants have to dream about.
    another top 10 list of wasted money
    Canadian Senate

    (Response: I support ICBC. Yes, it has problems: overloaded bureaucracy; too many people try to scam it etc. BUT I remember when all we had was private insurance … and pity those who ever had a claim!!! They too often had to fight for justice, companies that tried o find the smallest discrepancy in the original application so they could deny claims and drivers were penalized for years for daring to seek compensation. Totally off topic … but since you included it in your list, had to respond. However I wont let this UN blog become an ICBC discussion (maybe some other time). h.o.)

  • 7 Gilbert // Mar 20, 2018 at 12:56 am

    I question the results of this survey. We know that suicide rates in many northern countries are very high and there is a lot of mental illness. We also know that happiness is difficult to measure.

  • 8 Gene The Bean // Mar 20, 2018 at 9:26 am

    #7 – major buzzkill ….. at least you tried Harvey.

    Happiness is over-rated, right? For some it is. Lots of people cant be happy. They don’t want the people around them to be happy. It is far easier for some to be miserable because they have been conditioned.

    For forty years, a certain political spectrum and the 1%ers have sown fear and discord. They have corrupted an entire generation of low information, low education “vulnerable to the message” rural and working class people into thinking they should be AFRAID. The target changes to fit the scenario: immigrants, terrorists, CPP, brown people, your job, the economy, your children’s future – whatever, 52 flavours.

    People that live and thrive under progressive governments are far happier – as Harvey has pointed out. They aren’t submitted to the constant barrage of ‘controlling influence’ like you see in some governments.

    They don’t live in oppressive environments constantly hit with the message – “it is us against them”.

    Happy people believe in themselves and others. They don’t hoard their happiness, they want everyone to be happy. They aren’t selfish, they are inclusive, not exclusive and are more than willing to give a hand up, instead of a foot to the face.

    I have travelled a lot and met a lot of people. Many people from this top ten list. Do your own comparisons …. think of your experiences with “happy people”and say compare it to the current crop of ‘Muricans, or eastern Europeans, Russians or mainland Chinese that you have met.

    Completely different isn’t it? Are there exceptions, absolutely. But just think about that…..

    Who would you rather spend time with…. a group of Swiss, Aussies and Danes or a group of Russians, Bulgarians and ‘Muricans? I know, it isn’t really fair, way too broad brush but just play along….

    Who do you think is happier, Trudeau or tRump?

    Happiness is personal but it is also societal.

    Wonder how many ‘Muricans would, if given the chance, take an equal opportunity to their current lives in any of these top ten countries. Well, Iceland is a bit of a stretch, but you get the picture.

    Times are a’changing. In Canada, our ‘society’ is much better off now, than a few years ago. In ‘Murica, it will change soon as well.

    You are for happiness and progress, for all of us, or against it.

    PS:If you measure happiness by the size of your bank account, well, good luck with that.

    On the broad range of commenters here, Harvey included, it is pretty obvious as to who are the ‘happy’ ones, and who aren’t. See any other parallels…?… I sure do.

  • 9 Diverdarren // Mar 20, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Harvey, I don’t think anyone should read much into this index. It stems from the UN Millennium Development Goals and a resolution called; Happiness : towards a holistic approach to development.

    Both documents are full of ideals but short on details. Mostly the theme is wealth transfer from the richest, stable most peaceful nations to (as the US President correctly named) shit-hole countries.

    It’s the same old story from the UN.

    I think the folly of this would be to use this index to justify a personal bias. Picking the detail that the countries are at the top of the list in part because they currently have left leaning government is a misuse of the report. Right Bean.

    The conclusions of the index support the goals of the UN global development plan. What a shocker!

    Honestly, when we choose where to vacation and make ourselves more “happy”, do we choose Florida or Finland?

    (Response: Whoever paid for it …I believe it was a waste of money, stating the overall obvious realities of our world. But since they did it … I found it fascinating that so many of those who boast/display excesses of gaudy consumption produce countries where happiness is in short supply. As if they …or the UN …will do anything about it. h.o.)

  • 10 BMCQ // Mar 20, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I still have not received an answer to my question.

    I wonder just how many Legal, Employed, Tax Paying Citizens people from the U.S. or Canada or Australia or New Zealand leave their Countries to travel to LIVE FULL TIME in ANY of the Top Six Glorious Countries on the “UN Happy List”?

    I wonder how many of the same Hard Working People from those “Top Six Nations” Leave their Home Country to Travel to Live in the U.S.?

    People can choose to “Spin” this any they way they choose but FACTS DO MATTER.

    Please let me know when you come up with the number of Hard Working Employed People that wish to move from the U.S., Canada, Australia, or New Zealand to any of those Top Six “U.N. Most Happy Nations”. I am waiting very patiently.

    Oh and believe it or not I AM Happy as well!

    Even though I am Greedy, Morally Bankrupt, Corrupt, and a Conservative.

    In the meantime you might want to consider the following.

    Keep in mind that the bulk of Immigration to the EU is MIGRATION of Undocumented Persons with NO Identification from War Torn Countries.

    It takes Canada anywhere from a year to three years to rid our Country of Undocumented Felons, In The EU they almost never Deport those criminal Felons.

    And before I go.

    When was the last time you saw a Group of Legal Hard Working Americans of any Ethnic Background rush down to the Beach in Miami cobble together a Raft out of Old Cigar Boxes and Row Off to the Progressive Socialist Utopias of Cuba or Venezuela?

    When you do please be sure to send me a Photo.

    I wonder, will I be required to wait very long?

    In the meantime I have attached a couple of things that explain just how good things are in a few “U.N. Happiest Nations”.

    “Happiest You say?

    Tick … Tock…………..

    (Response: Sorry …but that’s a ridiculous red herring question! If YOU want to know, why don’t YOU do the research …and then let us know. Contributors to this blog are not your employees: just be thankful THEY do not ask you for detailed statistical data to back up all your assertions. h.o)

  • 11 BMCQ // Mar 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    I really hate to bring up the obvious Harvey but I have done the research and it is all attached to my Post.

    Please do not bother attacking me when each and every day you allow Gene the Bean to attack ANY and ALL Posters that happen to be Conservative or even middle of the road.

    People can ask me for detailed stats on my commentary any time they like, as a matter of fact I do most often post an attachment that backs up stats or numbers I post.

    Look Harvey this is your Blog and I have enjoyed being here very much but if your Blog is better off with Gene the Bean calling everyone names than it is with me doing my best to offer what I think might occasionally be thought provoking commentary so be it.

    I am very disappointed in your comments but I suppose if you define my comments as a “Red Herring” and whatever else you think that is OK with me.

    I would go on here but I why.

    Please continue to enjoy the very insightful, educational, and thought provoking commentary of Gene the Bean.
    Who needs me when you have him.

    After all he always provides “Detailed Statistical Data” to back up each and every one of his assertions, correct?

    Time for a break, Too bad.

    I do not expect you to post this but at least I feel a little bit better.

    (Response: If you HAVE the stats.. post them in detail…. why ask people to go come up with them. I try to allow GREAT width for discussion for everyone … including critiques of others points of view … but I don’t want people to demand others go do specific statistical research and report back. Again, if you have stats, don’t hide them … or ask us to delve into all kinds of long links …you really should just give them ..and enlighten the discussion. h.o.)

  • 12 13 // Mar 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Personally I am a happy person. I can attest to the fact that I am happy in spite of any particular brand of government that the democratic process inflicts on me. My happiness stems from religious beliefs, family, and friends and HOs blog.
    I am very happy to live in Canada and if I was to have to move to another country it would be the USA. I dont have a third choice.
    Seldom do I judge other peoples happiness or lack thereof. One persons hate filled tirade might make him/her happy. If it does why would anyone want to take that away from them.
    Harvey? I can hardly wait for your blog on ICBC.

  • 13 Harry lawson // Mar 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm


    Happiness like justice is a perception.

    The United Nations may have some value however it is becoming more and more irrelevant.

    I respect all of the posters on this site wether I agree or not . However several responses on post are at that fine line or have crossed the line of being disrespectful. and that is disrespectful to Harvey who spends his time and income to moderate such a great blog.

    (Response: Thanks. It used to be like herding cats …dealing with some people so pent up about many pet peeves, ideas et. But have to say I’m disappointed when, those who are otherwise intelligent with interesting info/points of view, descend into personal and frankly quite juvenile criticisms, attacks and rants that have nothing to do with the topic supposedly being discussed. Takes far too much of my time dealing with that .. and, frankly, hurts the whole idea od the blogosphere being a valuable tool for free discussion. No wonder so many bloggers do not allow comments! h.o.)

  • 14 DBW // Mar 20, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Harvey

    Sometime before Christmas I made the decision to stop posting here because – well, let’s just say, in keeping with the theme, posting wasn’t making me happy.

    I’ve been tempted to post, for sure, but every time, Bobby McFerrin whispered in my ear and the temptation passed.

    And here we are, discussing a most innocuous list of the happiest countries in the world, and trying to make sense of it or, rather, using it to justify our worldview. Sorry Gene, I didn’t see liberal governments as the common denominator. I saw cold, rain and snow, with the exception of Australia of course, but they were 10th.

    Anyway, in the process of discussing this pretty much pointless list (seriously no matter how you want to shuffle them, are there any real surprises in the top 10 or the bottom 10), some people are now unhappy.

    And that is sad. But it is also sad that some people think that Europe is facing the apocalypse and Canada is down the toilet and the generations behind us are a bunch of gamers living in their mama’s basement. And Superman’s new secret identity is Donald Trump.

    How depressing is that?

    I am going to need another four months to recover.

    (Response: Agree … rather pointless list in the overall scheme of things. Which is why I wrote about: how much was spent on compiling, analyzing the info from 155 countries for the UN … when there are so many other better uses on which those who did it could have the time and money? I think if we said nothing … we would be complicit in wasting precious money. h.o.)

  • 15 Gene The Bean // Mar 21, 2018 at 7:52 am

    DBW #14 – cold, rain and snow …? Well I guess that is essentially a conclusion on the same formula I used, what do these places have in common… geez, are there that many people that really like long winters…?

    I personally feel that “happiness” is equal in how it is achieved, personally and societally.

    As for the U.N. well I think everyone here agrees it is essentially a useless entity so even something as innocuous as this needs that grain of salt. But on the bright side, we can all agree!

  • 16 e.a.f. // Mar 21, 2018 at 9:41 am

    who would be the first country to stand up in the U.N. to complain about the uselessness of some of their “work”, i.e. this happiness list? The U.S.A. from time to time has refused to pay its dues because it feels set upon by others. The others use it for their own political purposes and so does the U.S.A.

    The U.N. has forgotten why they were created. Empire building has taken over. Countries jockey for position. It is a big waste of money. Countries pay dues to join this “club” and a club it is. All the players are there because some one in their country, usually from their party, “selected” them to go live in N.Y. There they go about bashing the U.S. and other countries, but not many want to go back to their home countries. They can do as they please and use the excuse they have diplomatic immunity. Not even having to pay for parking tickets.

    The U.N. needs to be “downsized” of its representatives. Once they are gone, the number of employees can be downsized also. The focus needs to be on the work in the field. If they had fewer people playing in N.Y. they might get a bit more work done. Its not like they’ve done anything about Syria. No getting up a head of steam to pull some of the players in for crimes against humanity. tossing barrel bombs on kids is not a nice thing to do. You look what Saudi Arabia is doing in the middle east and all they do in turn is complain about Iran. Well they aren’t laying siege to small countries and starving the children. We look at the Rohinda from Burma sitting on mud in Bangledish. the U.N. hasn’t done much of anything to deal with any of these situations. why bother having them in their expensive play pen.

    We would be better to take those parts of the U.N. which actually work and do useful things and place them else where with their budgets. The rest as I’ve written need to go some where else. N.Y. is just too nice and fun to get any work done. No they can’t go to Brussels either. I suggest we ring up Denmark and ask them if they have a piece of land in Greenland which they could “share” with the world and build a few buildings there and we would see how downsized the U.N. would be. its cold there. there isn’t much to do, no night clubs, shows, escorts, etc. Yes, I vote the middle of Greenland for the U.N. to move to.

    (Response: I’d suggest Churchill, Man. They could use the jobs; their rail link could be restored; and by using the Canadian dollar, they could get 30% premium on their spending. h.o)

  • 17 e.a.f. // Mar 21, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Totally forgot about Churchill, Man. I quite agree. Churchill, Man. for the new U.N. headquarters. Perhaps a campaign, start by sending a few letters to the editor of N.Y. newspapers as a suggestion, it may scare some of those overpaid underworked urban connoisseurs of everything except work. the more I think about it the better I like it, Churchill, Man. U.N. headquarters and polar bear capital. Don’t do a decent days work, you can forget about the limo, you can race a polar bear home. And this is Canada,, so no guns. Oh this is such a good idea.

    (Response: If we can pull it off…my Order of Canada will no doubt be in the mail! You can become UN Secretary General. I’m retired. h.o)

  • 18 John's Aghast // Mar 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

    My list of Happiest Countries used to include Bhutan. Did something occur to remove them from the top ten?

    (Response: Hmmm….maybe this is the reason folks there aren’t so happy: “The average income per person per day in Bhutan is Ngultrum (Nu) 40, which is less than a dollar a day, and the average income in rural areas is even lower at Nu 33 per day (77 cents). The poverty line is about Nu 748.10 per person per month, which translates to $17.40 USD per month and $208.75 USD per year .” h.o)

  • 19 John's Aghast // Mar 23, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Admittedly, money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure help take the sting out of poverty.

  • 20 e.a.f. // Mar 23, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    #19, oh so correct. money can buy you health care for your children, a roof over your head, education, etc. No wonder the countries which are the happiest also have all those things necessary to thrive.

    The once asked Paul Newman, after he became a star if it changed things for him. His response was, money didn’t buy happiness but it sure made the difficult times easier.

    if you’re really unhappy and have money you can go see a doctor and a shrink get treatment.. No money, frequently loose the job, take up drinking and other things. Not a good picture for a society.

    Bet most of those working at the U.N. at nice salaries have a much higher happiness level then those who live in the countries they represent.

    Even our protestors at Kinder Morgan’s site look happy and the RCMP don’t look all that unhappy either. Elizabeth May was smiling as they arrested her. She put her hands through the arms of each of the RCMP officers and off they walked with the media asking questions. if this picture goes out around the world, we certainly will look very civilized. No shooting, no beatings, no dragging. Just off for a sunday stroll. No wonder we’re happy. True that isn’t all of the country, but it is for the middle class protesting, which is oh so different from other countries in the world.

  • 21 Gene The Bean // Mar 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Harvey, you have piqued my interest on this.

    I looked at last years report, same top ten, slightly different order. Hmmm….interesting.

    This quote is from the what/how descriptions: “In the reports, experts in fields including economics, psychology, survey analysis, and national statistics, describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations, and other topics. Each report is organized by chapters that delve deeper into issues relating to happiness, including mental illness, the objective benefits of happiness, the importance of ethics, policy implications, and links with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) approach to measuring subjective well-being and other international and national efforts.”

    Two comments stand out for me that supports my theory of happiness being both personal and socital: ethics and policy implications.

    I think you cant help but be happier when your government isnt constantly ‘going after you’. When YOUR government does everything it can to attack workers, the elderly, the disadvantaged and kids in care, it affects you.

    I for one have noticed a big difference here in BC since the LIEberals have been shown the door. Horgan is tied for the most popular Premier on the country, people seem happier as the government appears to be doing good positive things for all of us, not just friends and investors. It rubs off, dont you think?

    It is like how you feel being surrounded by good, solid friendly neighbours or living amongst a bunch of disruptive aholes. I’ve done both. It is a big difference.

    (Response: Glad the topic piqued your interest: that is one of my main goals …getting people to think about events/ideas that, in their busy lives, may not have occurred to them. One big thing I think affects happiness is whether people reel they have input into what governs their own lives … politically and economically. When either of those two factors slip, people feel it and it does start to grind … and the worse it gets, the worse they feel…. even if they live in a country the UN etc categorize as well off. h.o.)

  • 22 13 // Mar 23, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    eaf , the photo op of May arm in arm with RCMP is hardly a picture worth bragging about.

    (Edited…off topic. h.o)

  • 23 DBW // Mar 24, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Harvey, I am happy to say that I am still happy about this topic.

    Like Gene I too have done a little more research into the survey and I want to make a slight change to my first post. I said the list was pointless when I probably should have said arguing about the ORDER of the list is pointless.

    Think for a minute, Harvey. Your premise for your post was that this survey was a waste of money, typical of the UN. Which is a valid position to take.

    But look what has occurred. A discussion on what makes us happy. How many discussions have occurred in other blogs or online newspapers where the survey results were printed. Around the world. Is there a value in that? As Gene pointed out policy makers look at these results. Is there a value in that?

    I went beyond the top 10 at noticed that Israel was 11. Israel is a well off country but I am not sure if I would have guessed it 11th considering the threats they face from neighbours etc. but I guess the people there have figured out a way to be happy within a dangerous region.

    Costa Rica was 13 and Chile 21 much higher than most of their neighbours. Why?

    Japan was 54. One of the richest countries in the world is 54th barely ahead of Russia. They were actually behind Russia in 2017. Why is that?

    Pakistan at 75 was ahead of Portugal at 77. That surprised me.

    As people have pointed out, happiness has a lot to do with perceptions which is perhaps what BMCQ was trying to say in his inimitable way.

    He perceives Europe on the cusp of some cultural backlash where crime (immigrant crime) is rampant and questioned all those European countries topping the list. But even in his Wikipedia link, that perception is questioned. I believe it was France (too lazy to go back) but the stats don’t show that immigrant crime is out of whack, but the French perceive it to be. Is that one of the reasons for France being behind their neighbours. They think they are threatened by something even though it is a false threat.

    If you think you might get fired or you think your wife may leave you, when neither is likely, you are going to be unhappy for no reason. Which is really sad.

    Arguing about whether Iceland should be so high on the list when nobody in their right mind would choose their climate, isn’t what the survey is about. It is what is it about the Icelandic people or the Israelis or the Costa Ricans, that make them happy or why the Japanese are comparatively unhappy.

    These are important questions so the survey does have value.

    Sorry for rambling.

    (Response: I was with you until you said of Iceland ” nobody in their right mind would choose their climate”. Hey…that’s what I keep hearing about Canada when I’m in Florida!!! I point out many people LOVE snow and ice…skiing, hockey, tobogganing, cross country, etc.. Of course, they point out that “I” am clearly NOT one of those…being in Florida. Touche! And then, back East, there’s the “Summer” … putrid heat and oppressive humidity. Yech! But I accept that SOME love Canada’s climate …and even Iceland’s! Why? Clearly you and I don’t understand…but I would not call them out of their minds. Just masochists! 🙂 h.o)

  • 24 13 // Mar 24, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Welcome back DBW. Its not always easy to stay on topic as evidenced by my last post.
    Your last post Nov 18 2017 was also off topic.
    Happiness is very subjective isnt it?

  • 25 13 // Mar 24, 2018 at 10:42 am

    DBW it doesnt take much digging/research/to see that the migration of Muslims out of various war torn countries has had a profound effect on all of Europe. Family in jolly old England are not as Jolly as they used to be.
    People in Frances also deal with violence. Some yesterday. I have personally witnessed a celebration among hyphenated Canadians the day the US naval vessel Cole was attacked.
    BMCQ is absolutely on the mark with what has happened in Europe. I would add that we dont even need to say time will tell as the carnage has already began.
    But if your happy thinking that Europe has done okay with the diversity that it has embraced and all is good across the pond , good for you.

  • 26 Gene The Bean // Mar 25, 2018 at 8:27 am

    #25 – so let me get this straight….

    Muslims – bad
    Hyphenated Canadians – bad
    Diversity – bad

    Yet the top ten HAPPIEST countries embrace all religions, embrace all people, embrace immigration (which is sorely needed due to low birthrates) and embrace diversity.


    No wonder you, and people that think like you, are not happy. You should try it. You might surprise yourself.

  • 27 Art Smith // Mar 25, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    And GTB embraces everyone who thinks like him, because how could you be happy or even worthwhile if you don’t .

  • 28 13 // Mar 25, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    @Art Smith, thank you for the kind words. Gene the Bean is a little bit judgmental. I have to be careful to respond to his personal attack without straying off topic.

    Muslims are not bad. The Muslims that choose to kill other peoples including other Muslims are bad.The Muslims that kill people that cant read the Koran are bad. Muslims that drive trucks over tourists and innocent people are bad. Muslims that fly airliners into buildings are bad.
    Hyphenated Canadians that stood in front of Fraser Surrey Docks that particular day made me sick to my stomach. I was ashamed to be anywheres near that party of revelers.

    The term diversity is not good or bad it is simply a way to express a mixture of anything. Sometimes its good sometimes its bad.

    Ive already explained up the page why I am happy. I must admit that reading your very judgmental opinions does not make me happy.
    Sad yes. Happy no.

  • 29 e.a.f. // Mar 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I’m not surprised at Japan at all. CNN has a series on with Christiane Amapour, “Sex and Love Around the Word”/. The interviews are with women. Its interesting the lack of sex in Japanese marriages. The conversation revolved around marriage which were sexless but respectful. One young woman had solved her problem by having a “respectful” marriage and a boy friend. There is immense pressure on Japanese students to do well and on men to work long hours. Not a great formula for happiness.

    13 at #22, it is some thing to be proud of. In Canada it is demonstrating we can have civilized protests where the police/army are not killing, beating, etc. citizens. That whole war in Syria started with the middle class demonstrating because of the corruption there. We know how that has turned out. Have a look at Egypt and how those protests turned out and in Turkey, well we know how many people have disappeared as they did in Chile at one time. In Russia it gets you killed to protest. In the U.S.A. if you’re black it can get real ugly also. so in Canada if we protest and everyone remains respectful and demonstrates no fear of the police, I’d say that was something to be happy about. Ms. May and others made a promise not go into the area again and were released. She and others will appear in court at a later date. The Kinder Morgan protests have a lot of people who believe this is a matter of conscience. If you look at the list of happy countries, they do have governments which are civilized and protesting doesn’t get you disappeared, killed, beaten, etc. I do not support violent protests, but demonstrations as we see at Kinder Morgan are just fine. The mass protests in the U.S.A. by in large also went well with no real violence.

    We have the U.N. because people/countries can get along and start fighting with each other.

  • 30 Crankypants // Mar 26, 2018 at 12:39 am

    I would question whether the parameters you state were used to create this report are any true measurement of “happiness”.

    In my humble opinion happiness is no different than beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some that seem to have everything one could want are still miserable and conversely some that have next to nothing are happy in their lives.

    Maybe the UN could have named this list as a quality of life report or some other such thing. It would still be subjective, but at least more descriptive.

    (Response: Whatever they call it, the question would remain: why waste the precious money on this? Collecting, analyzing and deciding on the interpretation of data from 155 countries is no easy task…no matter how many foundations assist. h.o.)