Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Nothing’s Rotten in Denmark?

Apparantly, the residents of Denmark are the happiest in the world, and the resident of Burundi Africa are the unhappiest. America’s #23 in the world, Britian is in the 40s.

UPDATE: Check out how this correlates with the recent rankings of evolution acceptance here.

Comments

  1. #1 Kristjan Wager
    July 28, 2006

    Interesting. I would have guessed that happiness have been decreasing in Denmark in later years, as politics have become more polarized.

  2. #2 jayson
    July 28, 2006

    I know it’s horrible to corrolate statistics that may have no connection, but doesn’t denmark also have one of the highest percentages of its population as atheists?

  3. #3 Greco
    July 28, 2006

    http://www.le.ac.uk/pc/aw57/world/sample.html

    “World Map of Happiness”

  4. #4 Bob
    July 28, 2006

    Hmmm, it looks to me that there is a link between the last two posts. I see a correlation between the availablity of moth balls and a nation’s ranking in happiness. Coincidence?

    Why come out of the closet when happiness awaits those who go in and close the door?

  5. #5 Bob
    July 28, 2006

    @Kristjan,

    This map and ranking pulled data from a number of studies and is probably unaffected by recent events.

    @jayson,

    I don’t know about Denmark and atheism. But I do believe that the Czech Republic is has one of the highest proportions of atheists (and it ranks 77th).

  6. #6 Kristjan Wager
    July 28, 2006

    I know it’s horrible to corrolate statistics that may have no connection, but doesn’t denmark also have one of the highest percentages of its population as atheists?

    That’s a bit hard to answer, as registering peoples’ religion is illegal in Denmark. It’s known how many people are members of he Danish state church, and pay church taxes, but that includes people like me, who are atheist, but haven’t gotten around to fill out the papers to leave the church – something I need to get done. If nothing else, then because I save the church tax (and out of general principle).

  7. #7 Peter Lund
    July 28, 2006

    Kristjan, you should really just get it over with. I finally did it 10 years ago, which was 8 years too late (read: eight years after I /could / legally have done it).

    At least now you don’t have to go to the local church to do it and get harrassed by the kordegn (= sort of secretary for the church, keeps the records regarding birth, baptismens, marriages, burials, …) like I was. The minister for Education and Church Affairs (yeah, they are often combined in the same person :( ) changed it about a year ago, I believe, because it was demeaning to non-Christians and Christians from other sects to go to the offices of the local Lutheran (state) church to register births.

    Or maybe I am too optimistic? Maybe it’s only the record keeping stuff you can do at the municipal office and not the actual leaving of the church?

    Anyway, it was rather easy to do.

  8. #8 Peter Lund
    July 28, 2006

    Regarding the polarization of Danish politics — I don’t actually think it is all that polarized at the moment. Think back to the very late sixties and early seventies, for example. Wasn’t it more polarized then?

    Isn’t the major difference between then and the time during the previous (Social Democrat) government that the side that is currently the “losers” are better represented among journalists (especially in the capital), actors, and popular writers? Oh, and school teachers ;)

  9. #9 gengar
    July 28, 2006

    41st, eh? Did the research correct for the fact that us Brits are at our happiest when we have something to complain about? Still, at least we’re more upbeat than the French (62nd), which will probably depress them even more…

  10. #10 Alon Levy
    July 28, 2006

    The thing about collective identity probably has to do with the fact that Western collectivism is different from East Asian collectivism. Western collectivism tends to be very civic, and manifests itself in civil society activities and political activism. East Asian collectivism is hierarchistic and based on obedience, so it’s not very surprising that it can generate different national attributes.

  11. #11 Kristjan Wager
    July 29, 2006

    I don’t actually think it is all that polarized at the moment. Think back to the very late sixties and early seventies, for example. Wasn’t it more polarized then?

    It was polarized in a different way back then. Yes, there was a bigger difference between the end of the spectrum in some sense, but more people now feel marginalized since the current government coorperates only with one side of the spectrum (the right), and is less concensus driven than earlier governments.
    Also, it might not be appearant, but the influcence of Dansk Folkeparti (Danish Peoples’ Parti, anti-immigrant) have really moved a lot of people around in the political landscape (I can’t off-hand think of any of my friends who votes the same way after Dansk Folekeparti got influence).

  12. #12 Mouth of the Yellow River
    July 30, 2006

    Ni Hao! Kannichi Wa!

    The top 10 happiest countries seem to generally correlate inversely with the degree of engagement, impact on and contribution to modern global activity, whether judged good, bad, progressive or retrogressive.

    And in one view, they correlate with a high degree of self-centeredness ending up in a sort of parasitism on others who pay the bills in the global community that are providing the playing field and balance of power so they can be high on the “happy” list.

    Particularly good examples are the so-called historically “neutral” countries in the top ten like Switzerland and Sweden. Switzerland has never come up with anything more than the cuckoo clock and lived largely off interest from shady bank accounts.

    Sweden, once the inventor of things like the ultracentrifuge, fine jet engines, finest steel and weapons, native land of a visible world figure Olaf Palme (and across the border Dag Hammerskjold) fizzled out with Ingmar Johansson and Bjorn Borg, nothing much since except Absolut ads.

    Denmark, the pioneer of fermentation technology and what we know about biochemistry today likewise nothing of late.

    Don’t know about atheists, but Sweden and those high on the “happy” list definitely have a high percentage of hypocrites, those who are on the church books whose beliefs are opposite.

    Hitler allowed Switzerland and Sweden to maintain their “happiness” in WWII long as he could use their facilities. He just walked over Denmark who argued.

    Happiness is more than limiting ones major concerns to “free-time,” who farted and the taste of Schnitzel, pomme frites, Sill and Surstromming.

    Hopefully, the US will not follow the “pursuit of this type of happiness” at the expense of maintaining support of innovation, reward of those who innovate, stimulating the ferment and in the opinion of some, the “unhappiness” that comes with it.

    Otherwise, be prepared to turn the leadership over to all the relatively “unhappy” residents of Yellow River country (Asians).

    Will the US and the countries now in the 25-50 range who are a fairly good balance between “happiness” and “unhappiness” go up or down on the “happiness” list?

    MOTYR

  13. #13 Kristjan Wager
    July 31, 2006

    Sweden, once the inventor of things like the ultracentrifuge, fine jet engines, finest steel and weapons, native land of a visible world figure Olaf Palme (and across the border Dag Hammerskjold) fizzled out with Ingmar Johansson and Bjorn Borg, nothing much since except Absolut ads.

    Denmark, the pioneer of fermentation technology and what we know about biochemistry today likewise nothing of late.

    Actually, I would have focused on Denmark’s past contributions to physics, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, I’ll point out that your ignorance about other countries’ contribution, doesn’t mean that they are not contributing.

  14. #14 Karen Emanuelson
    August 18, 2006

    I find the atheism/happiness relationship interesting, to say the least. I’m an American of Norwegian descent & have studied Norse/Viking history, plus I’m doing my Masters thesis on Beowulf. I have a question for the Scandinavian folks here: I have heard that while adhering to christian religions is declining in Scandinavian countries, adherence to the indigeneous Scandinavian old religion is on the rise. Is this so? I’ve also heard that this indigenous religion is now officially a “state” religion in Denmark (I’ll have to come visit!) and is this so? Thanks!

  15. #15 David Marjanovi?
    June 6, 2007

    “Wohl den Dänen und denen, denen die Dänen wohl sind!”

    ——————

    adherence to the indigeneous Scandinavian old religion is on the rise. Is this so?

    Yes. Membership has risen from 2 to 3.

    I’ve also heard that this indigenous religion is now officially a “state” religion in Denmark (I’ll have to come visit!) and is this so?

    Its existence is now acknowledged by the Danish bureaucracy, I suppose.

    —————-

    MOTYR, are you a Puritan or something? You know, one of those folks who have the nagging suspicion that somewhere someone might have some fun.

    You are an American in any case. Otherwise you wouldn’t confuse o and a (it’s konnichi wa).