What lessons can be learned from the Paraguayan experience? That happiness is possible if you close your eyes to the inevitable evils of life, if you live in the present, if you are content with just having the essential items for living, and can achieve the enormous luxury of not having to worry about money. But there is one ingredient missing to make Paraguay an earthly paradise. Before those who live afflicted by the crisis or by other hardships taking place around the world can follow in the footsteps of the old utopian dreamers, it is essential to ask one thing of the wealthy minority that governs Paraguay: to install a democracy sin qua non and rule of law so that justice is equal for all. When that day comes, yeah, let’s go there. They have everything else.
The Happy Planet Index is at it again! When your criteria on happiness is “measure what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them”, you really must come up with some crazy crap, like this equation,
Which, translated into practical terms means that if you have very very low expectations and live for a long time without electricity or running water, you’ll score really high.
The Happy Planet Index hasn’t been composed by some lonely obsessive living with his mother and boring a very small number of readers in a rarely visited corner of the Internet. No, the Happy Planet Index has been produced by the New Economics Foundation, a think tank with an annual budget of more than $3.9 million and a staff of more than 50. They may be as mad as a box of frogs, but these people are well-funded and influential.
They are also playing with taxpayers’ money. One of the New Economics Foundation’s biggest donors in 2010-11—giving them more than $155,000—was the British government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs paid more than $90,000 for another project in 2009 in which the New Economics Foundation produced a report—”Moments of change as opportunities for influencing behaviour”—which looked to Communist Cuba for an example of “mass efficiency improvement.”
Cuba, by the way, ranks 12th on the Happy Planet scale.
Reports like the Happy Planet Index claim to show us a different way of measuring success that “puts current and future well-being at the heart of measurement.” But there’s a reason Cubans regularly risk (and lose) their lives trying to escape their home country and make it to America, and there’s no waves of humanity flowing in the opposite direction. That the Happy Planet Index can’t capture those realities, or chooses to ignore them, suggests, well, that its authors are living on another planet.
No, just a planet with a well-funded agenda…in rooms with central heat; the NEF’s contact phone number is country code 44, for the United Kingdom & the Isle of Man.
Costa Rica is indeed a lovely place, even when Mel Zelaya wasn’t all that happy about being sent there, so I was curious about the rest of the top-10 countries, which are rated
The HPI measures how much of the Earth’s resources nations use and how long and happy a life their citizens enjoy as a result. First calculated in 2006, the second edition adds data on almost all the world’s countries and now covers 99% of the world’s population.
NEF says the HPI is a much better way of looking the success of countries than through standard measures of economic growth. The HPI shows, for example, that fast-growing economies such as the US, China and India were all greener and happier 20 years ago than they are today.
“The HPI suggests that the path we have been following is, without exception, unable to deliver all three goals: high life satisfaction, high life expectancy and ‘one-planet living’,” says Saamah Abdallah, NEF researcher and the report’s lead author. “Instead we need a new development model that delivers good lives that don’t cost the Earth for all.”
Not much in common between those two, but I assure you I would rather live here than in, say, Saudi Arabia. How politically-incorrect of me.
Cuba is #177 in the Freedom Index, third from the bottom, just slightly ahead of Zimbabwe and North Korea. To understand why, check out The Cuba Archive and then read through Yoani Sanchez’s posts at Generation Y.