One of the key aspects of human efficiency is making decisions based on facts and data rather than ideological thinking. This is a critical aspect of having an efficient government and political system.
Happiness is a relative term and there are a thousand definitions of what it means to be happy or how to achieve it. However, there is a yearly report published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network called the World Happiness Report that comes up with some very interesting observations.
First of all, it is important and sad to note that from 2007 to the present report in 2017, the U.S. dropped from third place among the 23 OECD countries surveyed to 19th of the 34 OECD countries surveyed last year. Meanwhile the happiest countries surveyed in 2016 were (1) Norway; (2) Denmark; (3) Iceland, and (4) Switzerland. Our northern neighbor Canada ranked a high seventh place.
To determine these rankings, the U.N. group used a measure of happiness referred to as life satisfaction. To obtain their data they simply went out and asked individuals a question similar to “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life these days?”
The report provided a list of what criteria best explains happiness in the countries at the top of the list. These variables included high levels of mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity, income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, freedom and trust, with trust being an absence of corruption in government and business.
So why has the U.S. been falling in the happiness ranking? The report hits the nail on the head when it indicates that the predominant goal of politicians in the U.S. is to raise economic growth, and in doing this supposedly happiness will go up with it. But this has not proved true. This is a very enlightening observation.
The report concludes that the U.S. is experiencing a social crisis rather than an economic crisis with the social crisis being comprised of rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust. They are absolutely correct here. And they even point out that the Republican Party’s policies are making the situation even worst.
Our country was founded on the principles of trust in God, integrity, responsibility, and compassion. These are what made the United States thrive for the past 250 years. Yet we are drifting away from these principles and this has only accelerated over the past 6 months.
For the United States, the report comes to the accurate conclusion that we, or more correctly our politicians, are looking for happiness “in all the wrong places.” Again, how true!
As an engineer you learn to benchmark, or copy what others are doing that has proved to be successful. But what is our government doing? They are trying to reinvent the wheel and in the process, they are pushing our country to do the opposite of what others have already proven to be successful. We need to set a different goal for this country – to be happier!
The goal of these posts is to provide the fact-based story behind issues that we are facing in this country. We can no longer allow ideology to make decisions for us and hold back our progress when the issues that we have are so easy to solve.