Sunday evening’s 60 Minutes (CBS) reported on the “happiest people” on earth. The Danes have, again, been reported as the “happiest.” Reporters wondered why given that a neighbor, Norway, is richer and another neighbor, Sweden, is healthier.
This story tells of some unthinkable (at least in the U.S.) social services in place in Denmark that may (?) promote persistent happiness:
1. Average work week of 37 hours with 6 weeks vacation a year
2. State-paid paternity leave for 6 months
3. State-paid education through college degree (students take as long as they want/need to complete their college education)
4. “Security” from birth until death (financial, education, social)
What’s the catch?
Perhaps the taxes paid…around 50% earnings.
Would we, in the U.S. be willing to contribute 50% of our earnings to ensure the well-being of all our citizens?
The story also reported that some of the most unhappy people live in the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S. (Upper Eastside of Manhattan was one example). What might this tell us?
“Stuff” won’t make us happy. Stop the compulsive consumerism and judgments based on possessions.
What advice did the interviewed students give to U.S. folks looking for “happiness”? Don’t depend too much on the American Dream.