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For Justme & Mandy: Happiness survey by London School of Economics

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: For Dima and Mandy: take the middle path please

Submitted by Anonymous (Sweden), Feb 24, 2006 at 06:31

Here are the answers to your questions:

1. The happiness survey was done by London School of Economics (if you have not heard its name then I have nothing to say ).Mr. Richard Layard, the Co-Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics did this research titled 'Happiness: Lessons from a New Science'. The book was published by the Penguine Press in 2005 (I'm sure you've heard the name of Penguine Press).

2. You may not like the results of this research but here are the findings in a nutshell:

Bangladesh is the happiest nation in the world. The United States, on the other hand, is a sad story: it ranks only 46th in the World Happiness Survey.
That's way behind India, the fifth happiest place in the world, and others including Ghana and Latvia, Croatia and Estonia. Research led by London School of Economics professors into the link between personal spending power and the perceived quality of life has conclusively proved that money can buy everything but happiness.

The study revealed that people in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, derive far more happiness from their small incomes than, for example, the British (32nd on the list) do from their relatively large bank balances.

In fact, people in most rich countries including Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and others are much more unhappier than their poorer counterparts in countries like the Dominican Republic and Armenia. Most unfortunate, however, are Russians and people in some other parts of the former Soviet Union. They are neither rich nor happy, indicates the World Happiness Survey.

Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria and Moldova follow the United States in the list to bring up the rear.The study shows that although the British have twice as much money to spend in real terms compared with 40 years ago, their perceived quality of life has not improved.

Earlier surveys revealed that many Britons thought money could bring happiness. The new study shows that such a link still exists in poor countries because a small increase in income can mean large improvements in lifestyle.

However, beyond a certain income-level that direct relationship breaks down. According to the research, happiness in rich countries now is far more dependent on close personal relationships, good health and job satisfaction.

People in Britain are generally less happy than they were ten years ago. Two-thirds would rather see the environment improved than have more economic growth and personal spending money, said Robert Worcester, visiting professor of government at the LSE and co-author of the study. The researchers have concluded that although Britons are rich compared with most other countries, many suffer from an emotional poverty caused by consumerism and the breakdown of family life.

We are being seduced by an economic juggernaut and our personal needs are not being met, said Nic Marks, a social sciences researcher at Surrey University who also worked on the report.

3. You asked me how many wives my husband has. Though this is a very personal question, let me tell you that luckily enough, I dont have to share my husband with other women, (wives, concubines, girl-friends, prostitutes, pole dancers, belly dancers, showgirls etc). None of my relatives or forefathers had more than one wife. Divorce rate is also very, very low in our society. In our country children are born within a marriage, and you may or may not like it, but parents try their best to save their marriages for happiness and for their children. I wouldn't say that married couples do not fight- they do, but majority of them would stick together for their children. The children also pay back this sacrifice, when their parents are old, they take care of them, respect them, give time to them. Grandparents are the most respected members of a family- everywhere in Asia. My grandmother is 90 years old, thousand miles away from me, but me and my daughter talk to her over phone at least once a week. We do not spend our money on wine and nightclubs- every pence we save, we try to spend it on our family.

4. Mormons are very much alive and kicking in America! I lived in Arizona for 2 years and I knew a woman who had a 'sister wife' (a woman 'married' to her husband). Search in the net and you'll find many people like this. They even come to popular talk shows on tv.

But then, Justme and Mandy- as one of you said- your society is yours and our society is ours. If you are happy with your money, freedom and military power, then remain happy for ever.

But remember that Muslims are also happy in their own way. If you don't like the Muslim way or any kind of moderate way then please don't bother others with your idea of 'western freedom'.

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