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Thread: Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

  1. #1
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    Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

    Sure, statistics can be cobbled together to justify almost any theory. But the latest Bloomberg Misery Index comes up with a strange one.

    The happiest country in the world? Norway? Well, it's one of the richest. Brazil, riding high on the World Cup success and with the Olympics next year? Taiwan, which has some of the best looking guys on the planet?

    Nope. None of them, although Switzerland comes second. The happiest country on the planet is none other than . . . . Thailand!



    In what may come as a surprise, the least-miserable country in our analysis is the not-so-wealthy Thailand. That's partly thanks to an unusually low unemployment rate, currently tracking below 1 percent, that has so far failed to spur inflation.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ ... -the-world

    To be fair, the list is based primarily on two factors which generally make consumers unhappy - unemployment and inflation. Clearly, though, the authors take no consideration of the type of employment. How can anyone one seriously claim that the millions of Thai rice farmers are happier in their labour than the gnomes in Switzerland?

    And what of the island miracle to our south, Singapore? It's nowhere to be found in the 51 economies surveyed!


  2. #2
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    Re: Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

    These charts never seem to feature Bhutan, yet it is the only country I know of where Gross Domestic Happiness is actually a goal of government policy; I believe they rate it more highly than economic goals. In Pattaya, where literally for my sins I live, I have often partaken in instances of gross domestic happiness. =P~
    [i]There is a boy across the river with a bottom like a peach,
    But alas I cannot swim.
    [/i]
    - From an early-19th-century Pashtun marching song

  3. #3
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    Re: Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

    When I was in Bhutan in 2008 unemployment was quite high. Given the basis of the Bloomberg study, I suspect it would therefore be unlikely to make the list despite the government's philosophy of Gross National Happiness.

    Bhutan did achieve a breakthrough, though, when the United Nations held a large meeting of political, academic and civic leaders from around the globe in 2012. The 3-day meeting all-but resulted in the adoption of Gross National Happiness as a goal for all nations and the development of the metrics for happiness, the formation of a UN happiness commission and the inclusion of happiness and well-being as a UN Millennium Development Goal. Another result is the UN named March 20 as Global Happiness Day. No doubt the bars will be full that evening =P~

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    Re: Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

    Actually our very own UK Government also care so much about it's citizens happiness and well bring that they formally report on it both to the citizens and also to Government ministers so they can factor the general level of happiness and well being into their decision making process - I just wish the fuckers would actually read the bloody thing occasionally then when sent to then as most people I see here are grumpy looking fuckers ! lol

  5. #5
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    Re: Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

    Don't get me started on Bhutan and GNH. Westerners love to fall in love with Bhutan and this idea of GNH. But if you peel back the curtain you see a good bit of hardship and unhappiness. Certainly all of the Nepali refugees who were forced off their ancestral land and put into squalid refugee camps by the Bhutanese aren't especially happy. Although most of them were forced over the border into Nepal. And then there's the Indian migrant workers who do all of the road works while living in pretty horrific conditions. Most of the young people moved from their villages to Thimphu or Paro looking for (largely non-existent) job opportunities. Which has left a lot of the villages populated by old people and little children. Subsistence farming probably isn't the best way to happiness. The 4th King was a good PR man when he came up with the idea since he knew there was no way the country would be able to catch up in economic terms.

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    Re: Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

    I found this section of the Bloomberg article interesting...or puzzling...or humorous...or whatever:

    In what may come as a surprise, the least-miserable country in our analysis is the not-so-wealthy Thailand. That's partly thanks to an unusually low unemployment rate, currently tracking below 1 percent, that has so far failed to spur inflation. To be sure, the Land of Smiles, currently under martial law after a military coup last year, has a long way to go before it comes close to the living standards of developed economies.
    I guess they are suggesting that Thailand should hurry up and get more modern and advanced so it can rank higher on the "misery scale".

    What they don't appear to realize is that the underlying reason why Thailand ranks the highest on the "happy" scale is because the other more modern and advanced countries "think too much".

    The humorous part of this is the fact that they (Bloomberg) fails to realize that Thailand doesn't evan have a structured (or statistically reliable) method of counting the "unemplyeed" to begin with...and if they did it would take them 50 years to do the counting.

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    Re: Bloomberg's "Happiest Country in the World?"

    Quote Originally Posted by fedssocr
    Certainly all of the Nepali refugees who were forced off their ancestral land and put into squalid refugee camps by the Bhutanese aren't especially happy. Although most of them were forced over the border into Nepal.
    You may well know more about the history of Bhutan and the Nepali immigrants than I. I am aware of refugee camps on both sides of the border. But you talk about "ancestral lands". My understanding is that the Citizenship Act of 1958 provided amnesty for all of Nepali origin who could prove residency in Bhutan for at least the previous 10 years. Certainly, spurred by India, there was a wave of new immigration in the 1960s for infrastructure projects (Bhutanese were almost all farmers) and most of these were Indians of Nepali descent. These are the ones now in a kind of limbo. Hard to accept that they have been turfed out of their "ancestral lands", though.

    The increasing migration of young people to the main cities is definitely posing serious problems for the fledgling democracy and I could see the start of that in 2008. Crime and drug addiction rates have soared whilst there are no longer enough people to look after many farms.

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