18 de diciembre de 2012

La prosperidad sin crecimiento- Denmark: Small, Happy Prosperous Families -- In Contrast to U.S.

Denmark: Small, Happy Prosperous Families -- In Contrast to U.S.
by Marilyn Hempel / Jan Lundberg

According to the OECD 2012 world report on life satisfaction, Danes are the happiest people in the world.Editor's note: Marilyn Hempel's approach to equating happiness with low population size without out-of-control growth, plus equitable income levels, is simple and convincing. Some parts of the puzzle, such as stronger sense of community and safety in public without heavy policing, become more clear, as positive influences can be seen feeding upon each other. Following Ms. Hempel's article is a complementary report by Jan Lundberg (a Danish and Swedish name).
Have you ever tasted a freshly baked Danish pastry? It’s delicious—why wouldn’t the Danes be happy! Putting pastries aside (reluctantly), studies of the happiness of nations are always fraught with difficulties. How does one quantify such a nebulous term as happiness? Isn’t happiness an individual state of mind? As it turns out health, a balance of work and leisure, and a strong social support network continue to correspond highly with happiness.
Sirens swim in Copenhagen's harbor and canals
Despite the difficulties associated with quantifying happiness, each year the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) unveils its report on life satisfaction in the developed world. Since it was founded in 1961, the OECD has strived to help governments design better policies for better lives for their citizens. Based on this experience, its 11 topics reflect what the OECD has identified as essential to well-being in terms of material living conditions (housing, income, jobs) and quality of life (community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance).
Once again, the United States failed to make the top 10 list of happiest nations in the world, while all the Scandinavian nations did. They all have small stable populations. The US has the highest population growth rate of any industrialized nation.

Denmark tops the OECD ranking with the most satisfied citizens. If one only glances at the numbers, the reason is not obvious. Denmark ranks no higher than fourth in any of the categories that appear to correlate strongly with overall satisfaction. Yet, in addition to the OECD, organizations such as the World Map of Happiness and the World Database of Happiness have consistently put Denmark at the top of their list of the world’s happiest countries.

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