+- +-

+-User

Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
 
 
 
Forgot your password?

+-Stats ezBlock

Members
Total Members: 54
Latest: abrogard
New This Month: 0
New This Week: 0
New Today: 0
Stats
Total Posts: 16288
Total Topics: 267
Most Online Today: 7
Most Online Ever: 1155
(April 20, 2021, 12:50:06 pm)
Users Online
Members: 0
Guests: 4
Total: 4

Author Topic: The American Dream  (Read 942 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 935
Happiness and The American Dream
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2020, 08:44:35 am »

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1 Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Like us on Facebook

Illustration by Anthony Freda

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on February 9, 2020

“It’s not primarily a measure of whether one laughed or smiled yesterday, but how one feels about the course of one’s life."

― Jeffrey Sachs, co-creator, World Happiness Survey


What is happiness? Like the judge who couldn't define **** but said he'd know itn when he saw it, most of us don't have a specific definition of happiness; we know it when we feel it, and often use the term to describe a range of positive emotions, including joy, pride, contentment, and gratitude. If someone asks you on a scale of one to ten how happy you are in six different areas, would you be able to accurately respond? That's what we're discussing this week. We're not talking about global temperature measurements, or oil exports, GNP, P&L, or anything that can be measured, mapped and plotted on a spreadsheet; we're talking about how people report satisfaction in their lives.

You wouldn't think a subject like "happiness" could be contentious. Happiness might seem an elusive concept to quantify, but there is a science to it backed by thousands of individual assessments and statistical analysis.


Last Tuesday, I published an article in the Doomstead Diner Daily: Finland's millennial prime minister said Nordic countries do a better job of embodying the American dream than the US. In the article, Sanna Marin, the 34-year-old prime minister of Finland, was quoted as saying her country and other Nordic nations were actually the best equipped to provide citizens with a chance to achieve "the American dream." This as recently told to The Washington Post on the sidelines of the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Sanna Marin

Sanna Marin

“I feel that the American Dream can be achieved best in the Nordic countries, where every child no matter their background or the background of their families can become anything, because we have a very good education system,” she said. “We have a good health-care and social welfare system that allows anybody to become anything. This is probably one of the reasons why Finland gets ranked the happiest country in the world.”

She is justifiably proud, as this is the second year in a row Finland has claimed the top spot in this UN survey, followed by Denmark, Norway and Iceland. These assertions caused as minor uproar in the Diner Forum. One respondent harrumphed,

Doesn't know **** about the American dream.

Finland is a country with a population smaller than Greater Houston……..and……. a lot of recent immigrants……and…… a birth rate for native Finns that is falling through the floor. Let's see how they look in 30 years.

Well, it's true that Finland doesn't have a military that consumes 58 percent of their national budget to defend the prerogatives of a crust of global profiteers, munitions-exporters and bloodsuckers. Let's see what WE look like in 30 years.

Mr. Carlin would like a word:

The mass of Americans are two-three paychecks away from an economic abyss, which may have something to do with the fact that in the same survey, since 2013 Americans have plummeted from 13th to 19th place. It would be convenient to lay this at the feet of Trump, because, as the study's authors note, "unhappier people seem to hold more populist and authoritarian attitudes." But it also corresponds with an increasing amount of time US adolescents spend interacting with electronic devices, contributing to increased anxiety and declines in happiness, as well as increasing rates of addiction (more on that below.)

The report states that from 1946 to 1970, the U.S. was quite literally the world's model for happiness, with gross domestic product ranking climbed steadilyand a burgeoning American middle class.

Testifying to Congress in the Clinton years, which now seem as remote as medieval China, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan explained the success of the boom economy he gratefully took credit for as being based on “growing worker insecurity.” Thus was born "the precariat." In Greenspan's terms, insecure working people are unlikely to make demands. Cowed, compliant workers are good for business, good for investors. For happiness? Not so much.

Noam Chomsky summarized:

… If working people are insecure, if they’re part of the precariat, living precarious existences, they’re not going to make demands, they’re not going to try to get better wages, they won’t get improved benefits. We can kick ’em out, if we don’t need ’em. And that’s what’s called a “healthy” economy, technically speaking.

Not much of a recipe for happiness. Results of the World Happiness Report fly right in the face of the "Team America: **** Yeah" crowd because they put the lie to the myth of American exceptionalism.


The World Happiness Report 2019 is an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It grades 156 countries in categories including generosity, social programs, freedom, corruption and income. The Report contains articles, and rankings of national happiness based on respondent's ratings of their own lives.

The most commonly cited economic statistics — GDP, household income and unemployment — focus on work product economic output, and consumption: their output, what they spend, how much they make and whether they have a job. None of these metrics tell us anything about people's happiness.

The Report is a survey of the state of global happiness that ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. This year’s World Happiness Report focuses on happiness and the community: how happiness has evolved over the past dozen years, with a focus on the technologies, social norms, conflicts and government policies that have driven those changes.

Gallup also collaborates on this report. Why bother? Why is this report important?

Leaders can no longer assume that the lives of those in their countries improve with a rise in GDP, as was shown in the Arab Uprising countries where GDP was increasing but the ratings of their lives trended downward ahead of the unrest.

Leaders need to follow much more traditional metrics to effectively track and lead the progress of their nation. The World Happiness Report is the first report to rank countries by how their populations feel.

Of course, if you are in charge of a country and you tendency runs towards the authoritarian, calling on your domestic, heavily armed freicorps to intimidate your domestic opponents, none of this will matter.


Let's not forget that this survey is reported out by the people themselves, not some external analysis.

The rankings are based on answers to the main life evaluation question asked in the poll. This is called the Cantril ladder: it asks respondents to think of a ladder, with the best possible life for them being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. They are then asked to rate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 scale.

The UN uses a sample size of 2,000 to 3,000 per country, and claim it is large enough to give a good estimate at the national level. The scores are instead based on individuals’ own assessments of their lives, and a reasponable person should assume people by the tens of thousands can report accurately about the happiness in their own lives. Jeffrey Sachs, co-creator of the World Happiness Report and a professor at Columbia University, writes

The surge of interest in happiness and public policy owes much to the case of the United States. Professor Richard Easterlin (1974) famously noted 45 years ago that happiness in the US had remained unchanged from 1946 to 1970 despite the significant rise of GDP per person. This finding became known as the "Easterlin Paradox." It has continued to hold true until today. Indeed, the average life evaluation in the United States, as measured by the Cantril ladder, has declined during the past dozen years, from 7.2 in 2006 to 6.9 in 2018, despite ongoing U.S. economic growth.

As I noted in last year’s World Happiness Report (Sachs, 2018), the long-term rise in US income per person has been accompanied by several trends adverse to subjective well-being (SWB): worsening health conditions for much of the population; declining social trust; and declining confidence in government. Whatever benefits in SWB might have accrued as the result of rising incomes seem to have been offset by these adverse trends. This year, I propose a common driver of many of America’s social maladies: a mass-addiction society

This year's report provides sobering evidence of how addictions are causing considerable unhappiness and depression in the U.S…. Addictions come in many forms, from substance abuse to gambling to digital media. The compulsive pursuit of substance abuse and addictive behaviors is causing severe unhappiness. Government, business, and communities should use these indicators to set new policies aimed at overcoming these sources of unhappiness.

There is more, much more to this report, and the curious should follow the links below to explore the report and its methodology, the full analysis of which will require a far better statistician than me.

But it is important to remember that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."


References:

https://www.businessinsider.com/sanna-marin-finland-nordic-model-does-american-dream-better-wapo-2020-2

https://www.businessinsider.com/finland-tops-worlds-happiest-countries-list-again-un-report-2019-3

https://www.gallup.com/analytics/247355/gallup-world-happiness-report.aspx

https://worldhappiness.report/faq/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.


 

+-Recent Topics

🦕🦖 Hydrocarbon 🐍 Hellspawn Mens Rea Actus Reus modus operandi by AGelbert
June 11, 2021, 07:22:34 pm

Re: Fossil Fuel Skulldugggery by AGelbert
June 10, 2021, 12:46:13 pm

Apocalyptic Humor by AGelbert
June 10, 2021, 12:23:12 pm

Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution by AGelbert
June 10, 2021, 12:06:50 pm

Electric Vehicles by AGelbert
June 09, 2021, 04:57:10 pm

Defending Wildlife by AGelbert
June 09, 2021, 04:34:34 pm

Wind Power by AGelbert
June 09, 2021, 03:58:08 pm

COVID-19 🏴☠️ Pandemic by AGelbert
June 09, 2021, 12:18:46 pm

Corruption in Government by AGelbert
June 08, 2021, 01:38:47 pm

The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth by AGelbert
June 08, 2021, 12:08:24 pm