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Caring for the Common Good Wins: Norway Ranks World's Happiest Country


#1

Caring for the Common Good Wins: Norway Ranks World's Happiest Country

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Norway now holds the title of the world's happiest country, according to a new report that also outlines how Republican proposals to gut safety nets, enact tax windfalls for the rich, and attack public education—as well as bipartisan failures in terms of the global war on terror and campaign finance—are making happiness further out of grasp for those in the United States.


#2

Greed, selfishness and predatory capitalism rule in the USA. Th people be damned and too many of the people have been brainwashed into supporting the very predators and oligarchs who will happily cut their throats.


#3

"Further abetting that destruction has been the country's reaction following the September 11 attacks, which, Sachs writes, "was to stoke fear rather than appeal to social solidarity" and begin "an open-ended global war on terror, appealing to the darkest side of human nature."

YES, that was the whole point of them perpetrating that act of high treason on their own people.


#4

"Norway in the top ten slots are, in order, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden."

It's a remarkably 'white' group of mostly Northern European nations, including former colonial powers, current possessors of colonies, three settler-colonial offshoots, and two of the very few remaining whaling nations.

I guess the message is it pays to plunder if you use your ill-gotten gains to help your own populace. In this world of our, that is as good as it gets.


#5

Is anyone else here surprised that the US is still in the top 15? Given the apparent trajectory, that probably won't last much longer. This is yet another sad statement on the state of the world- national borders aside, the state of humanity. (Though one should consider the source of this info- the United Nations...)

There are rumors that recent background radiation spikes in Europe may be due to a nuclear accident in Norway. Coincidence? Or did the happiest country in the world just suffer a covert nuclear attack?


#6

Is it a coincidence that the happiest countries have the highest levels of direct democracy?

Encryption could enable US to have secure running referendums by voting on our cellphones. Despite no voting system being absolutely secure, encrypted online voting is more secure than actual voting systems though some still erroneously believe it to be insecure. Online referendums are the key to good government. They will increase voter participation enormously.

Quantum computing will make online communications 100% secure:


#7

As one with a Norwegian heritage, this makes me proud! However, I wish that the Norwegains were "tuning in" to the fact of global warming, and their role in contributing to our imminent demise as a species!


#8

What do people without cellphones do? We need less reliance on the capitalist's internet, not more.


#9

Yes, we do need to remember that the generosity of Norway's egalitarian prosperity is largely financed with North Sea oil.


#10

Which ones are "former colonial powers"? Only one that I see, (OK, Norway still claims some uninhabited expanses of ice and rock) and what is it about the word "former" that you don't understand? And what does whaling have to do with anything?


#11

They can vote the usual way.

We paid for the "capitalist's internet". It belongs to us.


#12

Read Morris Berman's trilogy "Dark Ages America" to understand why 14 is ridiculously high.


#13

Yes: I guess the loot stolen by the Vikings from the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, coupled with the mythologised Viking love of rape and murder some 1200 years ago has given the Nordic countries the happiness they enjoy.


#14

The Norwegians had a whale of a time looting and plundering and raping across Anglo-Saxon Britain, didn't they? A lot of wailing must have gone on in their wake.


#15

In the US, we've developed a very hostile, stressful culture where we are pitted against each other by class, race, and ideology. In this era, liberals, too, have utterly discarded the notion of "the common good," and have played an implicit (but powerful) role in maintaining our war on the poor. As a consequence of this war, the overall life expectancy of the US poor has fallen below that of every developed nation.

On a broad scale: From FDR to Reagan, the US had implemented policies and programs (with a focus on reducing poverty) that took the country to its height of wealth and productivity. This agenda was based on the concept of "the common good." With Reagan, we began to change our minds, doing the exact opposite. We ended the programs, reversed the policies. Results: The overall quality of life in the US went from being rated at #1 when Reagan was first elected (far from perfect, but much better) down to #48 by the time Obama was elected.


#16

Gee, think things can change a bit in a mere 1200 years?


#17

They have what we don't -- legitimate social/poverty relief programs, and a system that invests in the needs of the people/nation -- everything from basic human needs to higher education. By contrast, most of our taxes today go into maintaining wars and expanding an already-massive prison system.


#18

You don't have to go back to the Vikings to find Scandinavian colonialism. It can be found in more recent times.
Here's a brief recount from Wikipedia:
"The Danes colonized many areas including holdings in Africa, the Americas, the Atlantic, and Asia. The medieval Norwegians colonized much of The Atlantic, including Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands, which were later inherited as colonies by the united kingdom of Denmark-Norway. However, both of these nations gradually gained independence and are now fully sovereign within the Danish Empire. In addition, Denmark also colonized parts of "The Americas", including the Danish West Indies, which was purchased by the United States in 1916, and is now a part of the modern-day U.S. Virgin Islands. Denmark also had trading posts along the gold coast of Africa and India, starting in the early 17th century, but these were sold to the United Kingdom in the mid 19th century."

And the happy list isn't only Scandinavians, it includes The Netherlands which has a horrific record of colonialism. Just ask the Indonesians.


#19

...because the people there have a voice and we don't

Online Direct Democracy


#20

You don't have to go back to the Vikings to find Scandinavian colonialism. It can be found in more recent times.
From Wikipedia:
"The Danes colonized many areas including holdings in Africa, the Americas, the Atlantic, and Asia. The medieval Norwegians colonized much of The Atlantic, including Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands, which were later inherited as colonies by the united kingdom of Denmark-Norway. ... In addition, Denmark also colonized parts of "The Americas", including the Danish West Indies, which was purchased by the United States in 1916, and is now a part of the modern-day U.S. Virgin Islands. Denmark also had trading posts along the gold coast of Africa and India, starting in the early 17th century, but these were sold to the United Kingdom in the mid 19th century."

And this happy list, top ten is more than Scandinavians, it includes The Netherlands which has a horrific record of colonialism. Just ask the Indonesians.
(Apologies - I already said much of the above to George_III,, in a somewhat abridged fashion.)

That means that some of the nations that gained independence from Britain in the 20th Century were Danish before that. And it wasn't so long ago so some of the wealth gained could be, at least, part of why they are doing so well. Not to mention that those on the bottom were all formerly colonized by some European powers, although not those in the top ten.

As for what whaling has to do with anything, my point is that being 'happy' doesn't translate into a populace that is caring about the natural world, including animals and fossil fuel usage. It also doesn't mean caring about those who are not members of the preferred group. For example, number 11 is Israel and the US is 14, neither of which is a beacon unto all those who are oppressed.

My point is that this exercise is highly circumscribed and it tends to reflect 'happiness' from a very Northern European perspective. This article doesn't go into details as the to the variables used. It says one of them is 'generosity' but fails to tell us that this is based on rates of charitable giving. The actual question put was: "'Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?'"
This is by no means a true indication of generosity and in many traditional societies would be unheard of as community and family are the sources and recipients of generosity and mutual care.
So in the end, one might feel the measure was made to fit the outcomes desired.