Tuesday, 21 March 2017

When Happy People Aren't Happy

The UN has some department which has the function of determining your happiness....as related to your country.

I know....you sit amused that such a department would exist and people would actually get paid to rank people by their happiness.

Yesterday, the ranking was updated for 2017.

Norway now ranks as the happiest land on Earth....displacing Denmark.  Over the past year, something must have happened to make Danes less happy, and Norwegians more happy.  A logical guy would ask what, but then you'd come to realize it might be something as simple as weather, some soccer league action, or a movie which came out to thrill Norwegians.

The rest of the top ten?  Well, it's an odd thing....Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden make it into the top ten.  All Nordic countries....all have a Viking heritage element.  One might come around to ask the UN folks if there is a favoritism deal going on, or if they are very pro-Viking.

Over my life, I've spent time in Denmark (six weeks), Finland (one week), and Iceland (one week).  There are several key elements in life that you come to notice in these countries.

First, it's extremely expensive to live any kind of life.....even a marginal life.  On my scale of a regular meal at McDonalds....where it might cost $4.90 to have a full-up burger deal in the US.....in Denmark or Finland....you are talking about a minimum of $7 for the same deal in local currency.  Don't ask about Iceland because they shut down their operations a couple of years ago (it was too costly to run and make a profit).

Second, booze and smokes cost a heck of a lot.  Taxation ensures that you don't drink the hard stuff....just the beer and wine.  Go look for teens smoking and you will notice very few because they can't afford a pack of smokes.

Third, gasoline....especially in Denmark....has a hefty tax attached to each liter sold.  So you don't drive much.

Fourth and final, there is this odd aspect about a happiness scale, the suicide rate for the Nordic countries, and the continuing escalation of anti-depressants issued out in Nordic countries.

I noticed in the last week that Iceland did the math and figured out that roughly 12-percent of Icelandic adults are on some anti-depressant.  If you look at the scale of this and trend....they are within five or six years of probably hitting 20-percent of the nation on some kind of anti-depressant. From a 2015 report, you kinda notice a trend building up.  These same five Nordic countries are in the top ten of dispersing anti-depressants.

Reason given?  I think there are three central reasons for the high rate of anti-depressants in these countries:

1. This July sun-up hour total (roughly 22 hours per day) and the December sun-down total (roughly 22 hours per day), if you use Iceland as the example.  Your sleep cycle is continually messed up and trying to recover.

2.  In most of these regions, you are in a self-contained 'cabin' situation.  There are vast areas of Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden which are fairly rural.

3.  Once the medical profession got all wrapped up in accepting legalized happy-pills (instead of marijuana), it was fairly easy to just start handing out the pills if you met these prescribed conditions.

So the question to ask now.....if the UN rated these Nordic countries for happiness, and they were hyped up on happy-pills....are they really happy or just drugged-up happy?  Without the happy pills....would they be as happy as you think they are?

It's best not to ask questions over this whole happiness thing.